I forgot to say that I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis about twenty years ago, when I lived in the US. They told me I had antibodies and explained what that meant. They explained that they could tell that my thyroid was actually working because it was producing hormones, the problem was they were being attacked by my immune system! That was a big surprise to me after 20 years on thyroxine, and thinking my thyroid gland didn't work, and all the while having my blood levels monitored regularly by James's endocrinology dept!
So I was able to tell them in James's what was wrong with me when I moved back to Ireland, rather than the other way round!
Some might say what difference does it make at the end of the day if the treatment is the same for hashimoto's as for a non-functioning or non-existent thyroid gland, and if the end result of treatment is the same = normal thyroid levels?
I think it makes a world of difference because the immune system comes into play in a big way with hashimotos, and there are lots of things that can be done to help the immune system and prevent inflammation, through diet, supplements, exercise, etc. All this can help.
Also, hormones have a knock-on effect on other body systems. Why isn't this addressed?
What I don't understand is why the endos don't sit down and take a thorough case history of each patient, taking into account
1. hormone levels: oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, insulin, adrenals (these are all affected by the thyroid and can have a huge effect on fertility, well-being, etc.)
2. allergies: gluten, dairy (because the proteins in gluten and casein are very similar to those in thyroid hormones and if the body produces antibodies to gluten and/or casein, these antibodies can then mistakenly attack the body - so if the allergen is eliminated the attack might be eliminated)
3. dietary deficiencies such as iron, b vitamins, selenium, copper, zinc (all needed for healthy thyroid functioning)
4. family history (leaning towards graves, hashis, non-Hodgkins lymphoma etc - my mother has autoimmune myelitis and my aunt has non-Hodgkins lymphoma - there is a gene that predisposes people to autoimmune disease) - not in the interests of a cure necessarily but in the interests of science, and also it is known that one autoimmune disease can lead to another - they need to explore this link.
5. mental state - is the patient anxious, depressed - and explain that this can be related to hormone disruption, and test for neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, gaba, etc. and compensate accordingly. Apparently the growth hormone is closely related to the production of the neurotransmitter responsible for the feel-good Gaba levels.
No, they test your T4, your TSH, tell you you're normal and off you go. Not only that, the medicine they give you has only one of the 4 thyroid hormones (the natural dessicated thyroid from pig's glands has T4, T3, T2, T1). They tell you that's alright because T4 is converted into T3 by the body (but there is evidence that some people have great difficult with this conversion). They don't bother to tell you selenium helps a great deal with this. And they don't really know what T2 and T1 do, so better not to have them. Although I'm sure there's a reason why pigs have them.
It just makes me so angry.