Guest Author - Jim Lowrance
While searching for new thyroid disease related information on the web, I came across a medical research article first published in the "Townsend Letter For Doctors and Patents" and re-printed by Dr. Alan R. Gaby M.D.. The article reports findings in regard to patients with "chronic fatigue", stating that a large percentage of them were found in a medical study, to have the type of lymphocytic thyroiditis that causes hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's thyroiditis). The article is entitled; "Autoimmune thyroiditis as a cause of chronic fatigue".
The interesting aspect of this report is the fact that these patients were not found to have abnormal (outside of normal values) thyroid hormone levels but despite this fact, were suffering symptoms of hypothyroidism. The autoimmune type of thyroiditis they were suffering from, that was causing the chronic fatigue, was instead diagnosed through a thyroid tissue biopsy called "Fine Needle Aspiration".
What is important about this article, is the fact that hypothyroidism does not have to be present, for autoimmune thyroiditis to cause symptoms. In this case, the research study confirms that the symptom of chronic fatigue is one of those that can potentially be experienced, before thyroid hormone levels become abnormal. This study is one of many that confirm the development of symptoms from thyroid autoimmunity, in advance of hypothyroidism, detectable through blood testing of the hormone levels. Other medical research articles on the subject of hypothyroid symptoms caused by the thyroid disease process itself, apart from hormone levels, include the development of rheumatic and fibromyalgic type symptoms.
In addition to my finding these articles and research for my articles, through searching on the web, these past several years, I have also corresponded with many thyroid disease patients. Many of these patients also attested to having developed hypothyroid type symptoms from thyroid autoimmunity, in advance of their thyroid hormone levels becoming abnormal on blood lab test results. Despite all of this information that is out there and reported by the most reputable medical research entities in existence, there are still Doctors who treat thyroid disorders, who do not believe symptoms can develop in patients with autoimmune thyroid disease, before thyroid hormone levels become abnormal.
In my own case of being diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid disease or "Hashimoto's thyroiditis", also referred to as "chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis", I did have abnormal hormone levels (elevated TSH, low T-3 Uptake), in addition to testing positive for the thyroid antibodies (auto-antibodies) that cause the disease. My hormone levels were not greatly abnormal but the symptoms I was experiencing, including chronic fatigue were severe despite my hypothyroidism not being considered "full-blown" at that point.
Even if there were no research articles stating these facts, in my opinion, it is simply common sense to recognize that the disease process itself has symptom-producing potential. It is after all autoimmune disease we are talking about and all diseases with autoimmunity as the cause result in inflammation and destruction of the tissues in the body that are affected. To think that this type disease process only causes symptoms when it affects hormone levels in the body, takes much of the attention away from the seriousness of the disease process that eventually results in the abnormal hormone levels. Chronic fatigue can be one of the early symptoms of an autoimmune disease process, including that which affects the thyroid gland.
One link to this medical research article, is shown in the "Related Links" secition below this article.