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March is Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month, which is important and relevant to many with hypothyroidism, as 90% of the cases of hypothyroidism are caused by the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. 
Yet a lot of people still do not seem to know if their hypothyroidism is of the autoimmune kind!
What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?
Hashimoto’s causes the body to attack and destroy its own thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism as the thyroid begins to dysfunction from the damage caused. As time goes by, if this autoimmune disease is not well controlled, your own body attacks and destroys your own thyroid as if it is the enemy, which can cause your levels to gradually get worse and worse, meaning further increases in thyroid medication dosage and worsening symptoms.
How Do I Know if I Have Hashimoto’s?
To know if you have Hashimoto’s, you need two thyroid antibody tests conducted: TPOAB and TGAB.
Having Hashimoto’s will usually show as these two results being above range, although it is believed that as many as 10% of those with Hashimoto’s don’t show on tests still.
It is worth knowing that you could see variations in your thyroid antibody and TSH results each time you test though, with them being high one time, low the next, high the next time and so on. This is believed to be a common sign of Hashimoto’s (swinging test results) as ongoing destruction of your thyroid gland causes sudden surges of thyroid hormone to be released into the blood.
Signs of Hashimoto’s Can Include:
- Symptoms that don’t go away with optimal Free T3 and T4 levels
- Brain fog
- Mood swings
- Swings in feeling hypo and hyper
- Ongoing fatigue
- Acid reflux and gut/digestive issues
- Aches and pains
- Skin complaints
The Importance of Testing Your Thyroid Antibodies
As demonstrated through my own thyroid health journey, many thyroid patients benefit from being more involved in their thyroid care and treatment, which is where self-testing and the ability to order your own tests can be critical tools for getting your health back on track.
Many doctors will not test or retest thyroid antibody levels, but it is worth knowing that you can order them yourself, just as I did.
Where Can I Order Thyroid Antibody Testing From?
There are two places I have ordered from before and can recommend.
In The UK
Medichecks is a very popular choice for inexpensive yet comprehensive testing with a fast turn around. You can order the thyroid antibodies test to check for autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s) or to monitor how your numbers may be going up or down over time.
Another place you can order some more in-depth thyroid testing is LetsGetChecked, who offer countless tests. You can easily order complete Hashimoto’s testing from them in the comfort of your own home.
With it being Autoimmune Disease Awareness Month, it is crucial that we raise awareness about how important testing these antibodies and knowing if you have Hashimoto’s, is.
What Difference Does It Make If You Do Have Hashimoto’s?
Well, it means that you should ideally be looking at calming down the disease and lowering those high antibody levels. It is believed that this means the attack against your thyroid is slowed down or even halted, meaning that symptoms disappear and recovery can begin.
Read about how I got my Hashimoto’s in to remission here.
Finding out if I had Hashimoto’s has been a huge part of treating and managing my thyroid condition and thyroid health, as certain things that have helped get the Hashimoto’s under control and in fact in remission, have made the biggest overall improvements in my health that let me lead me back to a very good quality of life.
Some of these have been not only changing thyroid medication, but also going gluten-free, trialling dairy-free, addressing my gut health, sex hormone imbalances, altering my diet and looking at blood sugar, epsom salt baths, certain supplements, raising low vitamin levels etc. Read about it in more detail here.
The Big Thyroid Jigsaw Puzzle
I always describe treating and managing thyroid disease as being like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each person will have different pieces to slot in to place before they can obtain good or even great health again, but we have to work to find out what these are for each of us. Learning if we have Hashimoto’s can really affect this.
We all need to embrace being our own thyroid health advocate. You can find my book on how I did this too, here.
There is also the online thyroid course ‘Freedom From Thyroid Fatigue’, which walks you through how to overcome thyroid fatigue and flare up days with a personalised approach. You may benefit from this guidance if you still experience ongoing fatigue and low energy.
Another important part of awareness months is using them to raise awareness of the condition/s to those who don’t have them. Please see a list of articles you may wish to share with those around you, below.
I am also currently writing another book, which is for the friends and family of those with hypothyroidism. It will aim to educate them on our condition and support them in supporting us. Please sign up to my newsletter to be updated on this.
- What is hypothyroidism?
- What’s Hashimoto’s?
- How do you treat Hashimoto’s?
- Can you cure Hashimoto’s?
- What supplements should I consider taking?
- Any books I can read?
- Any support groups I can join?
- What is the endocrine system?
- Should I avoid any foods?
- Why is gluten ‘bad’ for so many thyroid patients?
- Will I ever feel ‘normal’ again?
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.
Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes authoring books, writing articles, blogging and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a board member for The American College of Thyroidology and The WEGO Health Patient Leader Advisory Board. Rachel has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Yahoo, MSN, ThyroidChange and many more. She is well-recognised as a useful contributor to the thyroid community and has received multiple awards and recognitions for her work and dedication. She has authored two books: ‘Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate‘ and ‘You, Me and Hypothyroidism‘. Rachel is British, but advocates for thyroid patients on a global scale.