Guest Author - Jim Lowrance
When you have thyroid autoimmunity, this can cause illness, apart from thyroid hormone levels. This is a fact that many Doctors do not seem to recognize because they are of the opinion that until the disease actually lowers or raises hormone levels to abnormal levels, patients will have no symptoms from the disease.
First of all, the thyroid autoimmunity, of itself, causes inflammation in the body. It can also cause goiters and nodules in patients who have normal thyroid hormone levels. Thyroid autoimmunity also causes other illnesses, as stated in reputable research articles. The unwell feeling patients get with thyroid disease, is in part due to the disease itself.
Some patients with highly elevated antibodies, may feel unwell even when they are on proper thyroid dose. They may need an anti-inflammatory or supplements like selenium, to help lower the antibodies and their effects. Their thyroid medications over time will also help do this.
There are many research articles, stating the same conclusions, that the thyroid autoimmunity itself, is a cause of symptoms. These conclusions, from research conducted over a span of many years, is still unknown or unrecognized by many Doctors. The articles contain such phrases as; "systemic inflammatory reaction", caused by thyroiditis. This means the inflammation is not always localized, only in the area of the thyroid as some Doctors will tell their patients.
My belief is that some patients have more problems with the inflammatory response, than do others. It is a known fact, that inflammation is a cause of fatigue. It also causes our adrenals to remain in overdrive because "cortisol" from the adrenals, is not only the stress hormone but is an anti-inflammatory agent. I feel this is why adrenal fatigue can also be a factor.
My own treating Endocrinologist fortunately DOES recognize the systemic affect of thyroid inflammation and stated to me, that this was the cause of my previous lingering joint pain, that was manifesting more so in my shoulders and upper spine. The joint pain symptoms resolved once I was on optimal dose of thyroid medication for several months. My TG antibodies for example, were "537" at that time (range <40) but in a more recent blood retest, these had gone down to "285". My joint pain is now near non-existent. A coincidence that my symptoms improved, after my antibodies lowered to about half what they were? I don't think so.
Just as added info, my TPO antibodies at that earlier time, were "84" (range <35) and on my following retest, they had gone up to "120" however, neither of these readings were very high. I have seen patients with TPO ABs in the 1,000s and they seem to be the patients more often with symptom-problems, despite treatment, as are patients with really high Anti-TG ABs.
"Hashitoxicosis" can also be a problem in patients with the type of thyroid autoimmunity that cause Hashimoto's Disease. This term just means that your thyroid will surge occasionally, with extra release of hormone and then settles back down into the hypo state. This can really cause a lot of symptoms but is something you very seldom hear Doctors talk about because as with many things, they will claim this problem is "very rare", when it is actually very common in milder forms.
Some Doctors also state that sub-clinical adrenal insufficiency (adrenal fatigue) is "very rare" in thyroid patients and that this is also the case with emotional symptoms and joint pain, if a patient is on normal-range replacement hormone medication.
Large numbers of patients are complaining of these symptom-problems from highly elevated antibody levels, despite being on hormone replacement treatment. There simply cannot be this many "psychosomatic" thyroid patients out there! The symptoms in many of these patients, are a result of thyroid autoimmunity and not from imbalances of hormone levels alone.