Do you have a thyroid problem, or do you really have an immune system problem?
Are you symptoms being caused by thyroid hormone imbalance or your immune system?
If you have Hashimoto’s disease, then you probably think you have a disease of the thyroid. This is probably what you have been told by your primary care physician or your endocrinologist. True, your thyroid is being damaged and as a result of this you may be taking thyroid medication. Let’s take a functional medicine view of this disease and see what the roots causes really are.
It would be more accurate to say you have a disease of the immune system. Hashimoto’s is also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. It is autoimmune disease in which your immune system is causing chronic inflammation and destruction of the thyroid gland. The name “chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis” really makes it clear what the true problem is…let’s put this big name into simple terms:
- Chronic: persisting for a long time or occurring often.
- Lymphocytic: this is means lymphocytes are involved. They are a type of immune system cell.
- Thyroiditis: this means inflammation of the thyroid gland.
Your thyroid is the victim of an inappropriate attack by your immune system. This attack is not protecting your body or helping you in any way. So where does the dysfunction or disease really lie? Your immune system, because your lymphocytes are causing inflammation in your thyroid gland and slowly destroying it.
Taking an integrative medicine or functional medicine approach to this disease will be much more effective than the standard medical treatment. If you have the disease, then you already know what that treatment is…ignore what the immune system is doing and just take your thyroid medication.
While it may be true that you now need thyroid medication because too much of your thyroid has been destroyed, the fact remains that you still have an immune system disease. This disease of the immune system often causes the symptoms you may now be experiencing; such as:
- Brain fog or problems concentrating
- Weight gain or inability to lose weight
- Poor digestive health
This is what happens when your thyroid tests are all coming back “normal” yet you still experience symptoms associated with hypothyroidism.
This attack on your thyroid can also make it very difficult to get your thyroid hormone balanced. Your TSH and T4 levels may be going up and down. This can happen because every time your immune system hits your thyroid hard, hormones can get released into your blood stream so T4 may go up temporarily and when that happens your TSH will drop down. Up and down and all over the place! Another problem with thyroid testing is that it usually is not sufficient to truly evaluate hormone status and function You may have a normal TSH, T4 or freeT4 (fT4) but you may have big problems with the most important thyroid hormone…T3 and its different states.
If you suffer from Hashimoto’s disease and still have symptoms of low thyroid function, it is very possible that what you are really experiencing are the symptoms of a diseased immune system. Many people with this disease actually have a good levels of thyroid hormones, but still have symptoms.
The root cause of Hashimoto’s disease is a diseased immune system. What does it mean when a system is “diseased?” It is not working properly and decreasing the overall function of the rest of the body.
The focus of your treatment should be on getting your immune system to function properly; this is where the guidance of a functional medicine doctor is essential. This is because you need to identify the root causes of what is wrong with your immune system.
This is very important because once you develop one autoimmune disease, your chances of getting more of them increases dramatically.
Take a different approach to your Hashimoto’s disease…it’s not all always about your thyroid hormone levels.
Contact my office and speak with our functional medicine consultant.
I wish you health, happiness and a better quality of life!
If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com
Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.
This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Why? The FDA enforces its position that these words can only be used with drugs. This approach does not use drugs.