While hypothyroidism is a condition, Hashimoto’s is a disease. Hypothyroidism is commonly caused by Hashimoto’s disease, but not always. Sometimes known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, autoimmune thyroiditis, or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease where antibodies interact with proteins in the thyroid gland, causing a gradual degradation of the gland, and decreasing the gland’s production of thyroid hormones. Possible symptoms include those common in hypothyroidism and is usually diagnosed with a clinical examination demonstrating one or more of the following:
- A goiter (enlargement of the thyroid)
- A radioactive uptake scan showing diffuse
- uptake in an enlarged thyroid
- An ultrasound revealing an enlarged thyroid
- Fine needle aspiration (biopsy) of the thyroid showing lymphocytes and macrophages
- High antibody levels against thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (TG) detected with a blood test
Periods of anxiety, diarrhea, insomnia, and/or weight loss may come and go or be followed by periods of constipation, depression, fatigue, and/or weight gain as Hashimoto’s causes fluctuations in thyroid performance. Such cycling can be typical with Hashimoto’s but is not always evident
Often Hashimoto’s is caused by environmental triggers such as iodine, infection, pregnancy, or cytokine therapy, resulting in the generation of large numbers of T helper cells, cytotoxic lymphocytes, and autoantibody-producing B cells. Immune cells accumulate in the thyroid and lead to a prevalence of T helper mediated autoimmune responses and cytotoxic effects of T lymphocytes. All of this results in apoptosis (destruction) of thyrocytes, which is the ultimate cause of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
How is Hypothyroidism treated?
Most often, hypothyroid patients are treated with levothyroxine (synthetic T4). However, some patients remain symptomatic, and T3 is sometimes required for optimal therapy. Both T3 and T4 are secreted by a healthy thyroid gland. Unfortunately, the only commercially available T3 is a synthetic liothyronine sodium in an immediate release form which is absorbed rapidly and can lead to high systemic T3 concentrations in the body, resulting in undesirable side effects, such as heart palpitations. AgeVital can compound sustained-release T3 which could be an alternative when the administration of T4 alone has not proven sufficient to produce the desired results. Some studies have shown that the inclusion of T3 in thyroid hormone replacement therapy has improved cognitive performance, neuropsychological function, overall physical status, and has reduced depression when compared to therapy with T4 alone.