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Do you know if your hypothyroidism is autoimmune?
It is said that 90% of the cases of hypothyroidism are caused by the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. 
That’s nine out of ten of us with hypothyroidism, that have Hashimoto’s causing it.
What is an Autoimmune Disease?
An autoimmune disease is a lifelong condition in which the body produces antibodies that attack its own tissues, leading to the deterioration and in some cases, to the destruction of such tissue. Hashimoto’s causes the immune system to launch an attack against the thyroid, slowly destroying it over time if it not controlled, which causes hypothyroidism.
You can find out if you have Hashimoto’s by testing for thyroid antibodies (TpoAB and TgAb), but these are often not tested by doctors, so many patients seem to be testing them themselves online.
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 worldwide. 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’s crucial that we raise awareness about how important testing these antibodies and knowing if you have Hashimoto’s, is.
Many will be reading this right now and have no idea that you even have autoimmune hypothyroidism, but it’s worth knowing that having Hashimoto’s can alter how your hypothyroidism is treated and managed.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of Hashimoto’s can include symptoms that don’t go away with optimal Free T3 and T4 levels, such as brain fog, mood swings, ongoing fatigue, acid reflux, aches and pains, skin problems and more.
Thyroid medication, whether NDT, synthetic T3 and T4 or just T4, is of course important to feeling better with hypothyroidism, but with Hashimoto’s (autoimmune hypothyroidism) you likely need to look at some other things too;
- Most commonly, going gluten-free is favoured by Hashimoto’s patients to relieve Hashimoto’s symptoms, calm down swinging test results and high antibodies. This is because gluten is said to trigger the same autoimmune reactions that cause you to have Hashimoto’s in the first place. The cells of your thyroid are similar to the genetic make up of gluten, and it confuses your body, increasing inflammation and antibodies, as an attack on your thyroid is launched, destroying more thyroid tissue, and so worse/extra hypothyroid symptoms occur.
- Addressing other food allergies/sensitivities – dairy, soy, nightshades, citrus food, nuts, it could be anything. Pay close attention to what you eat and if any food has any negative effect on you, it likely needs removing.
- It’s also important to check your adrenal health.
- And Blood sugar imbalances.
- Also Nutrient/Vitamin Deficiencies, e.g. Vitamin D, B12, Iron, Ferritin, Selenium, Iodine.
- Consider your gut health – leaky gut
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid toxins/try detoxing
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.
I always describe treating and managing thyroid disease as being like a giant jigsaw puzzle. Each of us will have different ‘pieces’ to slot in to place before we 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.
Another important part of awareness months is using them to raise awareness of the condition/s to those who don’t have them.
There is also an online thyroid course which you can complete from your own home and computer. Freedom From Thyroid Fatigue helps you tackle low energy with a personalised approach.
What will you be doing to raise awareness this month?
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.