What Does It Mean To Have Thyroid Antibodies – People who don’t spend time thinking about their health when they’re young spend a lot more time thinking about their health later in life.
Many of my articles focus on reversing Hashimoto’s, but as I said, prevention is better than cure.
What Does It Mean To Have Thyroid Antibodies
I often get questions from readers about reporting Hashimoto’s. We know that autoimmune diseases run in families and people generally assume that genes are to blame. This is partially true: genes are not our destiny!
Interpretation Of Thyroid Tests
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune thyroid disease that causes hypothyroidism due to the destruction of the thyroid gland by the immune system. Symptoms of Hashimoto’s can be associated with hyper and hypothyroidism such as fatigue, anxiety, depression, weight gain, weight loss, cold/heat intolerance and pain.
Hashimoto’s testing should include a thyroid antibody test and a thyroid ultrasound. See below in this article for more information on testing.
Hashimoto’s is a progressive disease, and 5 stages of Hashimoto’s have been identified. In the first stage, a person is only genetically predisposed to developing Hashimoto’s, but for all intents and purposes does not have thyroid disease or autoimmune disease. Thyroid function is normal and there is no thyroid attack.
In the second phase, the immune system begins to recognize the thyroid gland as a foreign invader and the immune cells invade the thyroid gland. At this point, a person will have symptoms, but their TSH, T3, and T4 will be normal. However, the thyroid antibody test may reveal that the person has thyroid antibodies. If left untreated, this condition often progresses, especially if a person has high levels of thyroid antibodies. There is also a variant of Hashimoto’s known as seronegative Hashimoto’s, where the antibodies are not present, but a person will have immune cells in the thyroid gland. They can be measured by invasive tests, such as cytology, where a needle is inserted into the thyroid gland and thyroid cells are removed, then evaluated under a microscope.
Thyroid Hormone And Thyroid Antibody Values According To Gestational Age
The third progressive stage occurs when the thyroid loses its ability to compensate and begins to affect thyroid hormone production. This stage will raise TSH slightly (between 2 and 10), and T4 and T3 levels will remain “normal”. This is often described as subclinical hypothyroidism. Also, TSH can change because the thyroid is still able to compensate. In this phase there are usually more symptoms. However, some doctors refuse to prescribe medication. Many patients are told to come back when their thyroid begins to deplete. Read more about this in my article: What to do if your Tsh is normal and nothing.
Stage four is defined as hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland loses its ability to produce thyroid hormones. Too much is destroyed, TSH will be high, T4 and T3 will be low, and eventually you will be “diagnosed” and “treatable”. At this point, most conventional doctors are willing to prescribe medication.
However, I would say that as early as stage 2, people can benefit from medication, which allows the thyroid gland to rest and slow internal inflammation by reducing thyroid hormone production. Conventional medicine says that if you start using thyroid hormones, you can never stop them. I don’t agree. Reports have shown that thyroid function returned spontaneously in 20% of patients with Hashimoto’s disease. Thyroid function will remain normal in these patients even after discontinuation of hormone replacement therapy. Research also shows that when the autoimmune attack stops, the damaged thyroid has the ability to regenerate.
The fifth stage of Hashimoto’s, unknown to many, is the progression to other autoimmune diseases such as Sjögren’s disease, lupus and many others. Some doctors offer their patients annual testing for additional autoimmune disorders for this reason.
What Do Borderline Positive Tpo Antibodies Mean?
Because Hashimoto’s is progressive, things can get worse if you don’t make a concerted effort to get better. In fact, our environment has an effect on the expression and progression of the disease. Various triggers, always present in our environment, can speed up the movement between the stages, and lifestyle and functional medicine interventions can slow the movement between the stages and help a person reverse the situation.
But environment is much more important than genes. Research suggests that most of us are genetically predisposed to developing autoimmune thyroid disease and when presented with a strong enough concurrent trigger that overwhelms the body’s natural defenses or a strong enough trigger that overwhelms the body’s natural defenses, autoimmune thyroid disease is inevitable.
For example, a study of children aged 0-7 at the time of the Chernobyl nuclear fallout in 1997 and living near the Chernobyl nuclear reactor showed that 80% of them had thyroid antibodies, compared to 17% of genetically similar children. Farther away from the Chernobyl site.
Studies show that Hashimoto’s rates are increasing year by year. The likely culprit? Environmental toxicity in our air, water and food that undermines our inner resilience.
Ways To Lower Thyroid Antibodies
In my research and work with Hashimoto’s patients, I have found that Hashimoto’s disease is caused by nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, an impaired stress response, and an impaired ability to cope with toxins and chronic low-grade infections. There is also intestinal permeability.
If you or your family members are at risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease (or another autoimmune disease), here are some things you can do to reduce your risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease:
1. Get to the bottom of your gut issues. We know that leaky gut (aka leaky gut) is present in all cases of autoimmunity and often precedes the development of Hashimoto’s. Symptoms of leaky gut can include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, upset stomach, acid reflux, and irritable bowel syndrome. According to the Institute of Functional Medicine, many people develop IBS 5 to 10 years before an autoimmune diagnosis. I was one of them and I didn’t take my gut health seriously enough. Your poops should be well formed, pass easily, and happen once or twice a day. If you poop once a week, we have a problem! If you have trouble passing stool or have hemorrhoids, that’s also a problem. Discover the Bristol stool scale. You should be there for most of the 3 or 4 days. If you’re not, we need to figure out why. Gut problems are caused by infections like H. pylori, parasites like Blasto, SIBO, bacterial imbalances, enzyme deficiencies or food sensitivities (especially gluten, dairy and/or soy). Stress can also be a factor in intestinal permeability. Sometimes it’s a combination of all of the above. I recommend doing a 3-4 day stool collection to determine if you have a bowel infection and follow the suggestions below for more information.
2. Determine your food sensitivities. Food sensitivities cause leaky gut and deprive us of nutrients needed for our thyroid and immune system. Also, there is evidence that the same types of antibodies to various reactive foods can persist or cross-react with thyroid antibodies as well! About 20% of people with celiac disease can completely reverse their Hashimoto’s disease when they switch to a gluten-free diet. Also, in a recent survey of 2,232 of my readers, 86% of people who went gluten-free reported improved digestive symptoms. I personally had a celiac-like reaction to dairy for probably my entire life. It wasn’t until I removed dairy from my diet that I realized it wasn’t normal to have a stomach ache every day. One of the challenges with food sensitivities is that when we regularly eat foods that our bodies are sensitive to, it can be difficult to make the connection between the foods and the symptoms we are experiencing. As a starting point, I recommend a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, minimally processed, nutrient-dense lifestyle for both healing and disease prevention. In some cases, other dietary protocols, such as elimination diets, can help uncover other food problems and may need to be used to heal the gut… For more information, read: Which Thyroid Diet Is Best For Me?
Selenium In Thyroid Disorders — Essential Knowledge For Clinicians
3. Get some sun (and fill up on vitamin D!). Autoimmune diseases seem to occur the further away from the equator you are. A lack of vitamin D may be to blame, as this important vitamin needed for the proper functioning of the immune system, gut and thyroid is especially absorbed by our skin without sunscreen on sunny days. I recommend getting plenty of sun as a preventative measure. I also recommend vitamin D supplements for most people. Vitamin D levels should be between 60-80 ng/ml for optimal thyroid receptor and immune system function. Vitamin D has been shown in clinical trials to prevent autoimmune diseases and can help us fight infections like the Epstein-Barr virus. As I wrote in my article on Epstein-Barr, 80% of people with Hashimoto’s disease have the Epstein-Barr virus in their thyroid gland, as do 62.5% of people with Hashimoto’s disease. A virus can be a trigger or aggravating factor for many people with autoimmune disease.
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