“Is it possible to have symptoms of Hashimotos but normal TSH levels?”
“I feel like I have an autoimmune disorder but my Thyroid lab work came back normal. What’s going on?”
“Could I have an undiagnosed autoimmune disorder?”
These are questions I’ve heard time and time again from clients I have worked with.
Could it be that common symptoms of autoimmune conditions or Hashimoto's like fatigue, sleepiness, bloating, constipation, dry skin, muscle aches, muscle weakness, poor recovery after workouts, etc. are being brushed off by the traditional health care system?
Unfortunately, the same story seems to repeat itself far too often and it goes like this:
You notice that you feel exhausted all the time, you’re bloated, constipated, and can’t seem to get rid of muscle aches and joint pain. You ask your doctor about it and decide to run some labs. You’re hoping for answers, but even more than that, you’re hoping for a solution. Instead, your doctor tells you that your labs came back normal and what you’re feeling is probably just “part of getting older”.
You leave the office feeling discouraged. A creeping sense of sad acceptance begins to set in. “Maybe this is my new normal,” you begin to think. “Maybe things aren’t going to change. Maybe this is just what aging feels like.”
This is the part where I want to take you by the shoulders, shake you a little bit, look you in the eyes and say, “IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY!”
I’m passionate about this because it hits close to home for me. My wife and mother both have an autoimmune disorder, more specifically Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. That’s why I’ve dedicated my career to helping people who have been overlooked, had their symptoms minimized, and passed over by limited testing.
Did you know that it takes an average of 10 years to be diagnosed with Hashimoto’s from the start of the autoimmune attack on the thyroid gland, to the moment you have a clear diagnosis?
In Hashimoto's disease, immune-system cells lead to the death of the thyroid's hormone-producing cells. This causes a decrease in the thyroid’s hormone production and often results in hypothyroidism. The condition may take many years to develop. The immune cells congregate in the thyroid gland, and eventually lose their ability to differentiate the thyroid gland from a dangerous foreign invader like a bacteria or virus.
So why does it take so much time to get a conclusive diagnosis? Unfortunately, most conventional medicine doctors only test the patient's TSH levels which is a conclusive marker for diagnosing the condition. While this makes sense, the unfortunate fact is that elevation of TSH isn’t apparent until late in the game. And the longer your immune response is in place, the more thyroid damage occurs and the likelihood of you developing hypothyroidism gets higher and higher.
There are several stages of Hashimoto’s. In the first stage, there will be little to no symptoms. You will likely have normal TSH and T4/T3 hormones. In the second stage, your immune cells infiltrate the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s is characterized by an overabundance of white blood cells in the thyroid gland. While we need these white warriors to clean up and ward off trouble, too many activated troops running around on high alerts isn’t a good thing. Immune cells may be there with good intentions (to clean up dead and diseased thyroid cells) but when they begin to attack healthy thyroid tissues, it’s a real issue.
In this stage of the disease, you may experience symptoms such as mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, and weight gain or weight loss. That’s because your body is fighting hard to keep its thyroid levels normal. Impaired gut wall function typically develops during this stage which also leads to gastrointestinal disturbances. It’s exhausting and depletes your usual body functions and nutrients.
In the third and final stage, TSH levels may be slightly elevated on blood tests. You may finally receive a conclusive diagnosis after years of waiting, or you may hear “let’s wait and watch” one more time by your doctor.
The unfortunate fact is that a “Hashimoto’s diagnosis”, as we define it, is not usually discovered until it has progressed to the advanced stages, where there is significant damage to the thyroid gland.
Along the way, some people are even referred to psychiatrists or offered antidepressants for their “mood symptoms.” And once again, you feel like your problems are all in your head. Many people who are dealing with the beginning stages of the condition are told to “come back in a few months to check it again and then start treatment if the numbers are elevated enough”.
That’s why the process of understanding that you are dealing with an autoimmune condition and then testing for it can take upwards of ten to fifteen years. It’s a slow build over a long period of time. This can be incredibly frustrating for those who are dealing with it because they know something is off in their body but oftentimes don’t have test results to prove it. Each individual symptom might not seem like such a big deal to their doctor or the people around them, but the accumulative effect overtime can truly reduce quality of life.
This is the wrong way to go about it. You shouldn't have to suffer and sit around waiting for your condition to “get bad enough” before you can prove and treat the illness. Without proper care for the body, the immune system may go rogue and attack different parts of the body, which increases your risk of developing other autoimmune conditions.
So should you wait years for your TSH levels to show up on a test? Should you spend years going from one specialist to another trying to get a clear diagnosis? Or is there another way?
Here’s the two-part solution that I’ve used with hundreds of patients that has proven to be life changing.
Take a comprehensive synergistic approach to your problem - one that is rooted in the latest medical research. There are now tests available that analyze all 10 Thyroid markers. This will provide you with far more conclusive and comprehensive answers than traditional medicine’s minimal testing that often leaves conditions misdiagnosed.
Address your diet by removing common trigger foods for people dealing with Leaky Gut, Hashimotos, and other autoimmune conditions. Optimize your sleep, manage stress, and take an intuitive approach to physical activity. If you are exhibiting symptoms of an autoimmune condition and you have a gut feeling that you are dealing with one, go ahead and make lifestyle changes and care for yourself as if you do. The only side effects of getting on a natural treatment plan like the one I use with my clients is a longer life, better skin, slimmer waistline, more energy, increased sex drive and productivity, mental clarity, and much more.
No downsides here.
I’m not saying don’t go to your traditional doctor. Please do. Run the labs, keep an eye on your thyroid, and stay under medical supervision. But also know your options. Know when it’s time to take your health into your own hands and get better testing and make lifestyle changes that will help you to get your quality of life back.
With strategic lifestyle interventions and taking a “root cause approach” to prevent the progression of the condition, you can minimize the damage and discomfort of the disease.
Contact me to set up a free consultation if you’re interested in having a deeper conversation about comprehensive testing or beginning my Diet and Lifestyle Program designed to help clients who have Leaky Gut, Hashimotos, and autoimmune conditions manage symptoms, gain back quality of life, and even bring the condition in remission.
Click here to start the conversation!