Hypothyroidism is incredibly common, with more than 3 million US cases per year. If you don’t personally suffer from hypothyroidism, you probably know someone who does. With symptoms such as fatigue, cold sensitivity, constipation, dry skin, and weight loss, this condition often leaves people feeling sluggish and miserable.
Normally, lab tests are done to determine how much thyroid replacement is needed, and the patient is given a prescription for the corresponding dosage. Another round of labs is done to make sure that their thyroid levels are in normal range while on the medication, and annual labs are typically done for maintenance. However, so many times we have a new patient who tells us that they have tried to tell their primary provider that they have no energy, that they feel as though their current prescription is not enough.
There are several possible explanations for this, from poorly absorbed medication to a change in the brand of the medicine. But often times, what they are actually missing is an important diagnosis – Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
This autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system begins to attack the thyroid gland, often because of exposure to some sort of virus. Just like an autoimmune disease, a patient suffering from Hashimoto’s will have flare-ups when their thyroid can hardly function. The thyroid medication that was meeting their needs is now horribly insufficient and their body is feeling the effects. Many people even develop goiters, or swelling in the neck where the thyroid gland is located.
There are more than 200,000 documented cases of Hashimoto’s each year in the US, but many people are never told about this pathology let alone tested for it. A simple lab test will show that the individual is producing antibodies against their thyroid hormones.
While Hashimoto’s is more difficult to manage than simple hypothyroidism, there are many steps that can be taken to reduce flare ups and keep thyroid levels stable. If you are suffering from Hashimoto’s, or suspect that you may have this condition, give us a call and schedule a consultation. We are determined to bring balance and healing to our patients!