Hashimoto’s Disease: Symptoms, Causes and Chiropractic Care
Hashimoto’s Disease, also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder. It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism (90-95% of cases).
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland becomes underactive and doesn’t produce enough hormones.
Some of the common warning signs and symptoms include:
- Depression or anxiety
- Weight gain
- Feeling cold easily
- Digestive issues such as constipation and bloating
- Swollen face, eyes and belly
- Stiffness and swelling in the joints
- Hair loss
- Rough, cracked skin
- Trouble breathing
- Low sex drive or sexual dysfunction
- Frequent urination and excessive thirst
What is happening is that a person’s immune system is producing antibodies that are attacking the body’s own healthy tissue which is negatively impacting the function of the thyroid gland.
The thyroid is very important and its main job is to regulate your metabolism but it also impacts how fast your heart beats, your breathing, body temperature and menstrual cycles as well. There is not a single cell in the body that doesn’t depend on thyroid hormones.
What normally should be happening?
T4 and T3 are the primary hormones produced by the thyroid. Their production depends on the hypothalamus (which is a structure in the brain) sensing the need for more thyroid hormones in the bloodstream which signals the pituitary gland to release thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Normally, TSH is released but in Hashimoto’s and hypothyroidism, this system fails.
It fails for these reasons:
- There is either too little T4 being converted to T3;
- The hypothalamus is not signalling the pituitary gland properly or
- The pituitary gland is not releasing enough TSH when it has been signalled to do so.
So what caused Hashimoto’s in the first place?
Research is saying that the cause is multifactorial: genetics, diet, environmental influences, stress, hormone levels and immulogical factors (1). Leaky gut syndrome, allergies, emotional stress and nutrient deficiencies may also play a part in the cause.
Hashimoto’s is usually diagnosed with blood testing looking at TSH, T3 and T4 levels along with thyroid antibodies (2).
Making sure you are working with a great doctor and naturopath can help you deal with (and possibly reverse) this condition.
Conventionally, Hashimoto’s is treated with medications such as synthetic thyroid hormones but this will not treat the underlying problem. There have been many people who have benefited from making changes to their diet and lifestyle.
Some of the changes that can be looked at include:
- Removing immune – reacting foods from your diet such gluten
- Healing your gut
- Supplements such as selenium which has been shown to regulate the hormones T3 and T4 in the body
- Reducing stress as much as possible (3).
Where does Chiropractic come in?
Well, we don’t treat Hashimoto’s at all BUT we have seen in many patients that their ability to deal with Hashimoto’s is better when under care because their brain and nervous system is better balanced. Because the brain and nervous system controls everything including hormone production, Chiropractic plays a significant role in metabolic issues. There also has been some research showing a connection between Hashimoto’s and degenerative disc disease within the spine (4).