Tips On How To Prevent Hashimoto's Disease

Hashimoto's disease, or Hashimoto's thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease that affects the normal functioning of the thyroid gland.

Similar to other autoimmune disorders, Hashimoto's disease is caused by the malfunctioning of your immune system, making your body’s antibodies attack your thyroid gland rather than protect it.

This article gives a detailed look at this condition, its signs, symptoms, causes, and, more importantly, how you can prevent Hashimoto's disease.

Have you considered clinical trials for Hashimoto's disease?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Hashimoto's disease, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

What is Hashimoto's disease?

Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease that reduces the ability of the thyroid gland to produce necessary hormones. As antibodies attack the cells of the thyroid gland, its proper function is disrupted. This interrupts the regulation of the body’s metabolism and creates other complications. 

Who has the highest risk of getting Hashimoto's disease?

Women are four to ten times¹ more likely to get Hashimoto's disease than men. It's also more common in women between the ages of  30 to 50 years². Hashimoto’s can also occur in teens and younger women. There is a higher chance of developing this disorder if you have a family history of Hashimoto's disease and other autoimmune diseases such as:

What are the signs and symptoms of Hashimoto's disease?

The signs and symptoms associated with Hashimoto's disease are not initially obvious. Many years could pass before you experience any indications of Hashimoto’s.

However, some specific signs and symptoms make it more likely that you have this condition. These are usually associated with hypothyroidism and goiter.

Some Hashimoto’s disease symptoms related to hypothyroidism include:

  • Weight gain

  • Fatigue 

  • Drowsiness 

  • Difficulty concentrating 

  • Muscle soreness 

  • Hypersensitivity to cold 

  • Dry skin, hair, and nails 

  • Increased menstrual flow

The primary sign of Hashimoto's is goiter or visible swelling in the front part of your neck. The bulge is painless at first, but it can become painful if left untreated. This can affect your breathing and swallowing.

It is important to know about these signs and symptoms. The sooner you recognize them, the sooner you can seek effective treatment.

What are the causes of Hashimoto's disease?

Hashimoto's is an autoimmune disease, meaning it's caused by a malfunction of your immune system.

Your antibodies begin to attack the thyroid cells, muscles, and tissues rather than protect them. This leads to hypothyroidism and potential goiter since the thyroid gland becomes underactive.

It's not entirely clear why antibodies attack the body in some cases. However, the following factors are believed to be the main contributors to Hashimoto's disease:

  • Genes (family history of Hashimoto's thyroiditis or other autoimmune disorders) 

  • Viruses-such as Hepatitis C

  • Some medications used to treat bipolar disease

  • Iodine 

  • Exposure to radiation and toxins 

What are the potential complications associated with Hashimoto's disease?

Many people with Hashimoto's disease have hypothyroidism. This can also lead to other severe health problems such as:

  1. Heart disease and failure 

  2. High cholesterol 

  3. High blood pressure 

  4. Myxedema (a rare condition that slows down your body's function)

  5. Problems getting pregnant or during pregnancy

How do you lower the risk of developing Hashimoto's disease?

Through proper treatment such as thyroid hormone replacement therapy., Hashimoto's disease is manageable. However, eating certain foods and healthy lifestyle modifications can help you lower the risks associated with Hashimoto’s.

How to lower the risk of Hashimoto's disease with diet changes

Specific diets help reduce the risk of Hashimoto's disease. Some of the evidence-based dietary tips you should consider are: 

Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean diet is an eating pattern that focuses on fruits and vegetables, seafood, whole grains, and healthy fats. The Mediterranean diet has an anti-inflammatory diet pattern that can help with an overactive immune system.

Hashimoto’s disease causes inflammation of the thyroid gland, leading to hypothyroidism. Therefore, by following this diet, you might be able to prevent some of the signs of Hashimoto’s disease, such as goiter. 

Consider foods low in iodine

Foods low in iodine can help people with hypothyroidism. Since Hashimoto’s disease can cause hypothyroidism, consuming food low in iodine can help reduce the effects of this condition.

If you decide to eat low-iodine foods, talk to your healthcare provider for advice on this diet.

Remember, a low-iodine diet doesn’t meet the suggested allowance for your nutritional requirement. That’s why you need to consider the help of a healthcare provider to make the right decision about your low-iodine diet. 

Eat anti-inflammatory foods

Eating anti-inflammatory foods can help you manage Hashimoto's disease. A study³ involving 218 women with Hashimoto's disease revealed that oxidative stress markers were lower for people who ate vegetables and fruits frequently.

Other anti-inflammatory foods you could consider eating include spices, fatty fish, and vegetables. 

How do you treat Hashimoto's disease?

Levothyroxine, a synthetic form of thyroxine, is the most common drug treatment for Hashimoto's disease. Doctors prescribe this drug to replace your thyroid hormone since the thyroid cannot make enough due to this condition.

The long-term use of levothyroxine to treat Hashimoto's disease is effective. Apart from taking levothyroxine, healthy lifestyle choices are recommended.

Note: There are also new treatment options for Hashimoto’s still in their trial phase. These new treatments include:

  • Use of Metformin⁴

  •  Combination therapy⁵

  •  Surgery

When considering new treatments, always speak with your doctor first. They will be able to explain the risks and potential benefits and provide advice on whether a new drug or therapy would be right for you.

When to see a doctor

If you start experiencing signs and symptoms associated with hypothyroidism or goiter, you should consider seeing a doctor.

However, it is important to know that the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism can also be due to other types of disease. That's why you should seek a doctor's help as early as possible to undergo relevant tests and treatment.

The lowdown

It's important to learn about Hashimoto's disease so that you can recognize its symptoms and seek medical treatment. Using the tips mentioned in this article, you can reduce the signs and symptoms associated with Hashimoto's disease.

However, it's essential to consult your doctor at the onset of any changes in your health. Your doctor will evaluate your condition and work with an endocrinologist to help you treat your thyroid disease.

Have you considered clinical trials for Hashimoto's disease?

We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Hashimoto's disease, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.

Joining community groups and exercise programs for my condition made me feel empowered – but I want to be part of finding a cure.
Peter, 64


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