By. Dr. Sari Eitches
One in ten Americans will have a thyroid disorder in their lifetime. The most common cause is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis- an autoimmune condition in which the body’s own antibodies attack its thyroid. This causes destruction of thyroid tissue which impairs the thyroid’s ability to function properly and can result in hypothyroidism.
Hashimoto’s is more common in women than men, and incidence increases as we get older. Some of the susceptibility for Hashimoto’s can be explained by genetics; it is more common in people who have a history of other autoimmune syndromes in themselves or in their families. Additionally, the timing of disease onset can correlate with other factors; it can be triggered by infection, stress, pregnancy, or radiation exposure.
Other causes of hypothyroidism include deficiency in iodine or selenium, radiation exposure, or treatment for hyperthyroidism. There may also be increased risk related to toxin exposure as hypothyroidism has been found to be more common in those who have been exposed to flame retardants.
Symptoms of thyroid dysfunction can include fatigue, mood changes, weight gain, depression, panic attacks, hair loss, dry skin, intolerance to cold or heat, and other hormone imbalances such as menstrual irregularity and infertility.
Hashimoto’s disease and other thyroid dysfunction can be diagnosed with a blood test that measures thyroid hormone levels, pituitary hormone levels, and thyroid-related antibodies.
Treatment for hypothyroidism is individualized and depends on its root cause. It may include hormone replacement therapy (synthetic, biologic or custom compounded). Treatment also includes addressing underlying inflammation, as well as individualized supplement and nutrition recommendations. There are even specific yoga asanas, such as plow pose, which may be helpful! This comprehensive treatment approach has been very effective for our patients.
Dr. Sari Eitches is a Dual Board-Certified Internist and Integrative Physician, you can make an appointment with her by emailing email@example.com, or calling 310-451-8880