What exactly is Hashimoto’s? Many people are still confused about this disease and how to best evaluate it and put a treatment plan together.
So the question that we got that I’m going to cover today is Hashimoto’s disease explained. So for me, who is embedded in Hashimoto’s all day long, it’s like, wow, people still need that explained. But yeah, they do and I know that from the consultations. I can tell you that most of the Hashimoto’s seminars I’ve gone to have been about 24 hours long, over a period of three days. So I’m going to bring you the ultimate CliffsNotes of Hashimoto’s disease explained.
So Hashimoto’s, Dr. Hashimoto was a PhD in Japan back in the early 1900 and he was looking to see why are people getting thyroid problems? This was before the atomic bombs. I don’t know if you know, the people who were in the areas of the testing in Las Vegas for atomic weapons all got thyroid problems. Radiation screwed up their iodine and stuff like that. But this was before that. This was before Hiroshima and all that type of stuff. So he’s checking it out and he goes, you know what? All these people have autoimmune antibodies against their thyroid and nobody took him seriously.
So there were some doctors throughout the time, throughout the last century who checked for Hashimoto’s. Occasionally I’ll get a person who was checked for Hashimoto’s in 1960 or 1970, which shocks me. But for the most part, nobody even knew what Hashimoto’s was. And so Dr. Hashimoto figured out it was an immune attack against the thyroid and that’s the defining factor. Okay. So for years and years, and years, and years, and years, and years and years in this country, and in most of the world, most thyroid doctors ignored what Dr. Hashimoto’s findings were.
And so everybody was hypothyroid and everybody was being treated as a hypothyroid, meaning it’s a thyroid problem. If your thyroid is low, then we give you a thyroid medication to bring it up. And if it’s hyper, then we give you a medication to stop you from making thyroid problem. And that’s how it was until probably 20 years ago. So basically what happens is let’s go to the autoimmunity then. So basically what happens is you were born with a gene that says it is okay to attack your thyroid. And this is why I’m not yet fully embracing genetic testing because genetic testing tells you what could happen. It doesn’t necessarily tell you what’s going to happen.
So you can have a gene and never, ever, ever have Hashimoto’s in your lifetime. And so basically, then the next thing that occurs is life. So there are a lot of triggers that can trigger autoimmunity, not just Hashimoto’s, but autoimmunity in general, and those triggers are significant stress. Who’s had significant stress over the last three or four or five or six years? It can be an overwhelming infection. So those of you know I have Hashimoto’s. For me, it was a combination of an overwhelming infection and stress that hit me. I was under a lot of stress and I got pneumonia. Everything blew up.
After that, having a baby is probably the second most common one I hear after stress. Doc, I had a baby, it was my second child. It was the last child. It was my first child, whatever it was and after that, I’ve never been the same. My health declined, nobody could find anything wrong. It just keeps getting worse, and worse, and worse, and worse and worse. You have that, you probably have Hashimoto’s. A surgery can be a trigger. An injury can be a trigger, because these surgical events and traumatic injuries raise stress hormones by 500 times. Not 500%. Yeah, 500%, 500 times. And so that can set off inflammatory responses and all of these can set off immune or inflammatory responses and white blood cell responses that will now be so high that it’s exceeding what they call a plasticity of your immune system. Your immune system can only go so far before it can’t do the job and now it allows that inflammatory process to turn on the gene that says you have Hashimoto’s.
It could turn on a gene that says you have rheumatoid arthritis. It could turn on a gene that says you have celiac. It could turn on a… Yeah and on and on and on. Psoriasis, lupus and the whole thing. Okay. So yeah. So that’s how Hashimoto’s work. So Hashimoto’s actually should be called Hashimoto’s hypothyroiditis and then there’s a whole ton of variations as to what Hashimoto’s is.
So Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune problem that’s caused by you having the genetics. Today a lot of people go, “Oh, my mother’s got a thyroid problem. My aunt’s got a thyroid problem. My sister’s got a thyroid problem.” Well, if that’s true and that’s that person saying it to me, two of those people are very likely to have Hashimoto’s if they have a thyroid problem. My mother had it. My mother had a thyroid problem. She had hers out. My aunt had hers out. My grandmother had a goiter. I end up with Hashimoto’s. So it’s a genetic problem.
The situation today is in the medical model it’s still largely being treated as a hypothyroid. Still, even though now we’re aware that Hashimoto’s is… And how are aware are we? This is how aware we are. Mayo Clinic says 85 to 95% of all hypothyroid diagnoses should actually be Hashimoto’s. But a lot of the doctors don’t run the antibodies as a standard because the insurance companies doesn’t pay for them or they just don’t run them to find out if you’re in that 85 to 95%. So that’s why if you start looking around and going, whoa, it’s this explosion of Hashimoto’s, well part of it is an explosion because more generations are now getting it from their previous generations.
There’s a lot more triggers. Just for example, chemicals can be triggers. I mean, they’ve put 80,000 chemicals into our society since 1980 and they’re not really checking a whole lot of them out to see how they affect us. So you have that and then you just have people looking for it now. So now you have people looking for it that have never looked for it before and the ranges used to be… Oh my God, the range for this one antibody that confirms Hashimoto’s, it’s called a thyroid peroxidase antibody, TPO antibody, the range used to be a zero to a hundred when I first started in this. And now the Mayo Clinic ranges are zero to nine. We have four hospitals here in Reno, I’m in Reno, Nevada and one of them is zero to nine. One of them is zero to 32, one of them is zero to 34, and one of them is zero to 26. So you can see how confusing this whole thing can get.
So more and more people are being diagnosed with it, just because people are looking, the ranges are now getting closer to what they should be. So there’s just a whole lot of reasons if you’re wondering, why does everybody got Hashimoto’s? Well, Dr. Hashimoto could have told you back in 1911 why that was, but nobody was listening to him. So I think that should probably do it. I mean, that’s really what Hashimoto’s is. It’s an autoimmune disease. That’s how it happens and then once you get it, the battle is to get your immune system under control. If the medical profession started treating it as an autoimmune problem, most Hashimoto’s patients would come here and they’d either be on steroids or they’d be on immunoglobulin therapy and they’d feel better. But that’s not a great long term response.
There’s chemical triggers, there’s dietary triggers, there’s daily living triggers, there’s pathogenic triggers, maybe you’ve heard of Epstein-Barr Virus being the cause, which it’s a trigger. It’s a trigger and there are different viruses and things of that nature. So you have to find out what of those are involved. That’s the nutshell of Hashimoto’s. That’s what it is and that’s how it should be addressed.
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