Hashimoto’s Disease: A Risk Analysis

One of the most autoimmune diseases today is Hashimoto's Disease, characterized by inflammation of the thyroid gland.

What is Hashimoto's Disease?

Hashimoto’s Disease (“Hashimoto’s”) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by inflammation of the thyroid gland, goiter, infiltration of the thyroid gland with lymphocytes, and hypothyroidism.[1] It is one of the most common autoimmune diseases.[2] My risk analysis reports the causes and possible causes of this disease with a special look at nutritional deficiencies, as well as other autoimmune diseases being an risk influence.

Cause or Possible Cause of Hashimoto’s

To date, no definitive cause of Hashimoto’s has been determined. Researchers believe that many factors play a role in Hashimoto’s[3]:

Genetics: Studies show a significant association between the risk of Hashimoto’s and four genetic models including the allelic, codominant, dominant, and recessive genes.[4] Genetic factors contribute for about 70 to 80 percent to the pathogenesis of Hashimoto’s.[5]

Environment: Contributing 20 to 30 percent to the pathogenesis of Hashimoto’s are environmental factors.[6] Hygiene, chemical agents, stress, and climate all play a role.[7] The Epstein-Barr Virus may also be a contributory factor.[8]

Hormones: Because women are seven times more likely diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, there may be a relationship between sex hormones and the disease. Many women develop thyroid problems during the first year postpartum. While the symptoms usually go away, as many as 20 percent of these women develop Hashimoto’s some years later. [9]

Excessive Iodine: Research suggests that chronic exposure to iodine (a trace element required by the body to make thyroid hormone) may trigger Hashimoto’s in genetically susceptible people. [10]

Nutritional Deficiencies: Insufficient intake of selenium and iron with a potential relevance of Vitamin D status plays a role in the development of Hashimoto’s. Selenium and Vitamin D can reduce thyroid peroxidase antibody titers, hypothyroidism, and postpartum thyroiditis. Iron deficiency impairs thyroid metabolism.[11]

Radiation Exposure: Certain people exposed to high levels of radiation have higher incidences of Hashimoto’s. Evidence has shown this in people who had been exposed to the atomic bombs in Japan, the Chernobyl nuclear accident, and radiation treatment for a certain blood cancer called Hodgkin’s disease.[12]

What Hashimoto’s does to the Body

Because Hashimoto’s impairs the thyroid’s ability to produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormone, the body cannot function properly. Common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle soreness
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Dry skin, hair, and nails
  • Constipation
  • Increased menstrual flow
  • Difficulty concentrating

What Happens as Hashimoto’s Progresses

If Hashimoto’s is not treated, it can cause other health problems such as infertility, miscarriage, giving birth to babies with defects, and high cholesterol. While it is rare, a severe Hashimoto’s can lead to heart failure, seizures, comas, or death.[13]

Risk Influence for Hashimoto’s

Hashimoto’s affects more women than men. Teens can be affected; however, it most often appears between the ages of 40 and 60. The disease often runs in families. The risk of getting Hashimoto’s is increased for a person who already has another autoimmune disease such as Celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or pernicious anemia.[14]

Conventional Treatment for Hashimoto’s

With conventional medicine, Hashimoto’s is treated with a synthetic thyroid hormone. Levothyroxine is similar to the thyroid gland and is often prescribed. Allopathic medicine dictates that this hormone prescription needs to be taken for life.[15]

Conclusion

Many patients who have a hypothyroid disorder such as Hashimoto’s have negative outcomes from using synthetic thyroid replacement hormone drugs. However, there are natural glandular and supplemental products that have been reported with positive effects to support thyroid health.

Learn how you can treat hypothyroidism naturally by reading my article Natural Therapy for Hypothyroidism.

References

[1] Hashimoto’s Disease. (n.d.). The Free Dictionary by Farlex (Medical Dictionary). Retrieved from https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Hashimoto%27s+disease.

[2] Hu, S. & Rayman, M. (2017, May). Multiple Nutritional Factors and the Risk of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Thyroid, 27(5), 597-610. Doi: 10.1089/thy.2016.0635. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28290237.

[3] Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. (n.d.) WebMD Women’s Health Reference. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/women/hashimotos-thyroiditis-symptoms-causes-treatments#1-2.

[4] Hu, Y., Xu, K., & Jiang, L., et al. (2018, February 20). Associations Between Three CTLA-4 Polymorphisms and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Risk: An Updated Meta-Analysis with Trial Sequential Analysis. Genetic Testing and Molecular Biomarkers, 13(1), 1945-0265. Doi: 10.1089/gtmb.2017.0243. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29461867.

[5] Wiersinga, W. (2016, June). Clinical Relevance of Environmental Factors in Pathogenesis of Autoimmune Thyroid Disease. Endocrinology and Metabolism (Seoul), 31(2), 213-222. Doi: 10.3803/EnM.2016.31.2.213. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923404/.

[6] Wiersinga, W. (2016, June). Clinical Relevance of Environmental Factors in Pathogenesis of Autoimmune Thyroid Disease. Endocrinology and Metabolism (Seoul), 31(2), 213-222. Doi: 10.3803/EnM.2016.31.2.213. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4923404/.

[7] Ajian, R. & Weetman, A. (2015, September). The Pathogenesis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Further Developments in Our Understanding. Hormone and Metabolic Research, 47(10), 702-710. Doi: 10.1055/s-0035-1548832. Retrieved from https://www.thieme-connect.com/DOI/DOI?10.1055/s-0035-1548832.

[8] Dittfeld, A., Gwizdek, K., Michalski, M., et al. (2016, October 25). A Possible Link Between Epstein-Barr Virus infection and Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders. Central European Journal of Immunology, 41(3), 297-301. Doi: 10.5114/ceji.2016.63130. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5099387/.

[9] Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. (n.d.) WebMD Women’s Health Reference. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/women/hashimotos-thyroiditis-symptoms-causes-treatments#1-2.

[10] Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. (n.d.) WebMD Women’s Health Reference. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/women/hashimotos-thyroiditis-symptoms-causes-treatments#1-2.

[11] Hu, S. & Rayman, M. (2017, May). Multiple Nutritional Factors and the Risk of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Thyroid, 27(5), 597-610. Doi: 10.1089/thy.2016.0635. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28290237.

[12] Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. (n.d.) WebMD Women’s Health Reference. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/women/hashimotos-thyroiditis-symptoms-causes-treatments#1-2.

[13] Leschek, E. & Cooper, D. (2018, January 8). Hashimoto’s Disease. Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/hashimotos-disease.

[14] Leschek, E. & Cooper, D. (2018, January 8). Hashimoto’s Disease. Office of Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/hashimotos-disease.

[15] Ibid.

Comments

Stories