Hashimoto’s is a disease that damages the thyroid, usually leading to endogenous hypothyroidism. Nearly all people who have problems with their thyroid have Hashimoto’s even though most have never heard the term.
- We know someone has Hashimoto’s when they:
- Have positive thyroid peroxidase antibodies on a blood test
- Have positive thyroglobulin antibodies on a blood test
- Have signs of Hashimoto’s on their ultrasound
- Have signs of Hashimoto’s on a thyroid biopsy
- Have hypothyroidism for no other reason
An important point is that even though thyroid antibodies prove that someone has Hashimoto’s, having negative thyroid antibodies does NOT prove they don’t have Hashimoto’s. In fact, up to 40% of those with Hashimoto’s never have positive thyroid antibodies.
The next most common thyroid disease is called Grave’s disease. My apologies to Dr. Robert. J Grave, but it is a horrible name to use for a disease. Especially for a disease that causes chemical anxiety.
Grave’s disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism and it is diagnosed by blood tests as well.
As different as they can be, the diseases are really very similar. Hashimoto’s is a destruction of the part of the gland that builds hormone, whereas Grave’s is a destruction of the part of the gland that controls the release of hormone.
States and disease are separate but overlapping factors. Most who have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), have it because of an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s disease. Most who’s gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism) have it because of Grave’s disease.
If your thyroid is off and you know nothing else, you likely have Hashimoto’s disease.
The good news about all of this is that you can get your health back. By working with a good doctor to find the root causes of your Hashimoto’s or Grave’s disease, you can also improve your thyroid function and prevent other autoimmune diseases.