I remember the day I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism - specifically, Hashimoto's (which is autoimmune). I'd been struggling for months with what I'd assumed was holiday weight. Always consistent with exercise, I couldn't figure out why I was experiencing unexplained muscle tightness & aches, and my endurance was suddenly nil. Then, the brain fog: I couldn't remember easy words, or the names of people I'd known for years. But the worst was the exhaustion - Even sleeping was exhausting! Functioning day-to-day was a battle, let alone figuring out what I could do about my thyroid.
Does this sound like you? Have you been recently diagnosed, or suspect hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's?
Between what you read in books, articles on the internet, blogs, and what Facebook will tell you, it is overwhelming trying to figure out where to start! By the end of this post, I hope you'll feel less anxious about your diagnosis and gain the confidence and energy to start.
So, here's everything I'd like to share if you've just learned you (or a friend) have a thyroid condition like Hashimoto's - or if you're considering the possibility that your hypothyroidism might be autoimmune.
1. More 90% of hypothyroidism cases are actually autoimmune, Hashimoto's.
Hypothyroidism is usually diagnosed with lab results showing TSH, T4, and T4 in the low ranges.
TSH: Thyroid stimulating hormone - high TSH indicates hypothyroidism. Optimal is between 1.0 - 2.0 IU/mL.
T4: Inactive thyroid hormone that gets converted to T3.
T3: The active, accessible form of thyroid hormone that your body uses.
But, if your doctor doesn't test for thyroid autoimmunity and you have only these lab markers above, you'd never know if you had Hashimoto's, the condition in which your immune system is tagging and killing your own thyroid cells. So how do you know if it's Hashimoto's? Ask your doctor to test for thyroid antibodies, or self-order the test yourself.
When they're elevated, this is generally a positive Hashimoto's diagnosis*:
TPO Antibodies: Thyroid peroxidase antibodies. Antibodies that destroy enzymes needed to make thyroid hormone.
TG Antibodies: Thyroglobulin antibodies. Antibodies that destroy the thyroid gland/tissue itself.
*In less frequent cases, Hashimoto's can still be present even if antibodies are not elevated.
2. You can reverse Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism.