Hashimoto’s Disease: How To Manage Your Thyroid Health

Dr. Jenny Pfleghaar
Jen Pfleghaar, DO, ABOIM
December 9, 2023
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In this blog, you will learn about the early warning signs of Hashimoto’s disease (also known as Hashimoto Thyroiditis) and insightful information about the thyroid hormones, how to improve your energy, and how gut health relates to your thyroid. Let’s dive in.

What is Hashimoto’s Disease?

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that can destroy thyroid cells and reduce thyroid hormone production to dangerous levels.

Hashimoto’s disease is reported to be the most common cause of hypothyroidism in developed countries, like the United States. It affects women more often than men at an approximated 10 to 1 ratio, according to one report.

This condition, also called Hashimoto Thyroiditis, can bring about challenging symptoms like:
– Excessive fatigue
– Mood changes
– Hair loss
– Being unable to regulate your weight.

At the worst, it can even lead to comas, according to a recent report.

How To Manage Hashimotos?

Life with Hashimoto’s disease can be challenging, and it may not be clear how you can live your best life. But this blog will give you a knowledge foundation to help you know the next steps to take to manage Hashimoto’s disease.

The Early Warning Signs of Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s disease often starts with mild, hard-to-recognize symptoms. Most cases have been reported to be diagnosed in people aged 30 to 50 years. According to the Mayo Clinic, early warning signs of Hashimoto’s disease include:
• Fatigue and sluggishness
• Increased sensitivity to cold
• Constant constipation
• Changes in nail health
• Cold, dry skin
• Unexplained weight gain or weight loss
• Mood changes like depression

These symptoms can easily be overlooked or thought to be caused by a different factor. Recognizing them as indicators of an underactive thyroid is key to early diagnosis and effective management.

If you have been experiencing these symptoms, you should see your physician. Early treatment of Hashimoto’s could save you a lifetime of difficulties.
A 2022 report stated that, if left untreated, Hashimoto’s disease can cause:
• High blood pressure
• Facial, hand, and foot swelling
• Chronic joint pain
• Anemia
• Delayed tendon reflexes
• Difficulty with speech
• Ataxia
• Myxoedema coma in severe hypothyroidism

Now you know early warning signs of thyroid problems like Hashimoto’s disease.

But what you can do to manage Hashimoto’s disease?

Current Treatment for Low Thyroid Hormones

According to the Mayo Clinic, most people need medication to treat Hashimoto’s disease. The reason is that Hashimoto’s disease causes you to have low thyroid hormone release. This means you need to replace those hormones, which are the T-4 and T-3 hormones. In general, the Mayo Clinic states that levothyroxine is the primary medication used to treat Hashimoto’s disease or hypothyroidism.

Levothyroxine is a synthetic hormone that replaces the natural T-4 hormone. Because the T-4 hormone is converted by the body into the T-3 hormone, most people do not need a T-3 replacement hormone. If some need more intricate care, T-3 hormones can be prescribed.

When determining dosage, you will likely get frequent blood tests to assess your thyroid stimulating hormone levels. It is essential to do so because too much thyroid hormone could weaken your bones and potentially cause heart issues, according to the Mayo Clinic. When the dosage is determined appropriately and dose concentration is ramped up slowly, side effects are not common.

Getting appropriate medical treatment will be essential in your healing journey. It is also important to consider making lifestyle changes to address symptoms like low energy and gut health challenges.

For example, thyroid hormones regulate your metabolism. Prescription hormones will help you with energy levels and weight management. But one report indicates that managing your diet is another key part of the picture.

Improving Low Energy for Those With Thyroid Issues

Having little or no energy is brutal. When you already have low energy due to Hashimoto’s disease or other thyroid issues, everyday demands are much harder.
So, what can you do to improve your energy to make your days better?

The most important things you can do to boost your energy levels with Hashimoto’s disease are:
• Improve your diet
• Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption
• Avoid tobacco
• Aerobic Exercise
• Get quality sleep

One thing that might jump out is limiting your caffeine. A lot of people think, “If I’m tired, I just need caffeine.”

In one of the videos of our Heal Your Thyroid & Reverse Hashimoto’s Summit Evan Hirsch, MD, discusses that fatigue is not just something that can be fixed with caffeine.

“If your energy is not what you want it to be there is a problem. And if you cannot get through the day without caffeine that is a problem,” states Evan Hirsch, MD. You can learn more from him about naturally increasing your energy in that video.

Your mitochondria are also essential for energy! They are our cellular energy generator. Ari Whitten, MS, provides some excellent information in an interview with Jen Pfleghaar, DO, FACEP.

In that interview, Ari Whitten, MS, states, “Remove these stressors that are present. Okay. Correct the chronic stress that is present from these different factors in your life, how you eat, how you move, how you think, how you sleep.”

You can watch his whole interview here to learn more!

Improving your diet is another key that can improve your energy levels with Hashimoto’s disease.

Nutrition, Gut Health, and Your Thyroid Health

One key to improving your symptoms is to make sure that your nutritional and gut health needs are being met.

It is important to ensure that you are getting the appropriate nutrients, high-quality proteins, and high-quality fats. One report suggests that people with Hashimoto’s disease or thyroid disease should:
• Ensure you are getting enough vitamins (specifically A, B, C, D, and E), magnesium, zinc, iron, iodine, and selenium
• Eat high-quality fats like those from olive oils, avocados, walnuts, or seafood
• Get your carbohydrates from whole grains
• Increase fiber intake
• Eat foods rich in antioxidants like broccoli, spinach, beets, carrots, potatoes, blueberries, and kale
• Limit dairy
• Limit gluten
• Limit or eliminate processed foods
• Limit alcohol

Limiting dairy, gluten, processed foods, and alcohol is extremely important for your gut health. Those foods can cause inflammation and poor gut health, which is known to lead to many chronic diseases. Improving your gut health could increase the number of microbes with anti-inflammatory properties, according to one review.

One of our videos by Alison Marras, NTP, discusses good nutritional tips for improving your nutrition for people with Hashimoto’s disease or thyroid issues.

The recommendations provided should ensure that you are meeting your body’s needs to improve your energy levels and reduce symptoms. Always check with your dietician to make sure that you are eating appropriately for your condition.

It is clear to see that you have the power to improve your life with Hashimoto’s disease or other thyroid diseases. Learning as much as you can is important. But putting it into practice is more important.

You can learn how to do that with Jen Pfleghaar, DO, FACEP. She is hosting the Heal Your Thyroid & Reverse Hashimoto’s Summit, which is free from July 18-24, 2023. Don’t miss it!

About The Author

Daniel Chantigian, MS, is exploring many chronic diseases, you can explore his and other works on our blog by clicking here (https://drtalks.com/blog/).

Hashimoto and Thyroid References

  • Mincer DL, Jialal I. Hashimoto Thyroiditis. [Updated 2022 Jun 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan. Read it here.
  • Mayo Clinic. “Hashimoto’s Disease – Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic, 2020, Read it here.
  • Mayo Clinic. “Hashimoto’s Disease – Diagnosis and Treatment – Mayo Clinic.” Mayoclinic.org, 2018, Read it here.
  • Ihnatowicz, P., Drywień, M., Wątor, P., & Wojsiat, J. (2020). The importance of nutritional factors and dietary management of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Annals of agricultural and environmental medicine: AAEM, 27(2), 184–193. Read it here.
  • Al Bander, Z., Nitert, M. D., Mousa, A., & Naderpoor, N. (2020). The Gut Microbiota and Inflammation: An Overview. International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(20), 7618. Read it here.
Healing Thyroid Reversing Hashimotos

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Bret Gregory
Bret Gregory
1 month ago

The blog post provides a comprehensive overview of Hashimoto’s disease, highlighting its significance as the most common cause of hypothyroidism in developed countries, particularly affecting women. It educates readers on the autoimmune nature of the disease, which leads to the destruction of thyroid cells and a decrease in thyroid hormone production. By detailing the symptoms, early warning signs, and the impact of untreated Hashimoto’s disease, the post emphasizes the importance of early diagnosis and management.

The management strategies discussed, including medication (with levothyroxine as the primary treatment), lifestyle changes, and dietary adjustments, offer valuable insights for those living with Hashimoto’s. The emphasis on gut health and its connection to thyroid function, alongside recommendations for improving energy levels and overall well-being, is particularly enlightening.

The blog also introduces resources like the Reverse Hashimoto’s Summit for further learning and support.
The inclusion of specific nutritional guidelines and the role of gut health in managing Hashimoto’s disease is a crucial aspect, offering actionable advice for readers to improve their symptoms and quality of life. The holistic approach to managing Hashimoto’s, combining medical treatment with lifestyle and dietary changes, presents a well-rounded perspective for those affected by the condition.

Overall, this blog post serves as a valuable resource for individuals seeking to understand Hashimoto’s disease better, its implications, and how to manage it effectively. The detailed information about symptoms, treatment options, and the importance of nutrition and gut health provides a solid foundation for anyone looking to navigate the challenges of living with Hashimoto’s disease.

Dr. Jen Pfleghaar, DO, Hosted the Reverse Hashimoto’s Summit. (https://drtalks.com/reverse-hashimotos-summit/)

jamie bothen
jamie bothen
12 days ago

i was supposedly tested for Hashimotos twice. i used to weigh 225 lbs and dropped down to 130 after a year, started noticing hair loss, bloating, loss of eyelashes, atopic dermatisis, plus back then menopause I don’t know if i should ask for another test of Hashimotos

Daniel Chantigian
Daniel Chantigian, MS
Learn more

When it comes to complex scientific or medical topics, Daniel can successfully communicate with any audience via writing, social media, lecturing, and one-on-one discussions. Over the past decade, he developed these skills as a researcher at the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic, as a lecturer at the University...

Join the discussion

or to comment
2 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bret Gregory
Bret Gregory
1 month ago

The blog post provides a comprehensive overview of Hashimoto’s disease, highlighting its significance as the most common cause of hypothyroidism in developed countries, particularly affecting women. It educates readers on the autoimmune nature of the disease, which leads to the destruction of thyroid cells and a decrease in thyroid hormone production. By detailing the symptoms, early warning signs, and the impact of untreated Hashimoto’s disease, the post emphasizes the importance of early diagnosis and management.

The management strategies discussed, including medication (with levothyroxine as the primary treatment), lifestyle changes, and dietary adjustments, offer valuable insights for those living with Hashimoto’s. The emphasis on gut health and its connection to thyroid function, alongside recommendations for improving energy levels and overall well-being, is particularly enlightening.

The blog also introduces resources like the Reverse Hashimoto’s Summit for further learning and support.
The inclusion of specific nutritional guidelines and the role of gut health in managing Hashimoto’s disease is a crucial aspect, offering actionable advice for readers to improve their symptoms and quality of life. The holistic approach to managing Hashimoto’s, combining medical treatment with lifestyle and dietary changes, presents a well-rounded perspective for those affected by the condition.

Overall, this blog post serves as a valuable resource for individuals seeking to understand Hashimoto’s disease better, its implications, and how to manage it effectively. The detailed information about symptoms, treatment options, and the importance of nutrition and gut health provides a solid foundation for anyone looking to navigate the challenges of living with Hashimoto’s disease.

Dr. Jen Pfleghaar, DO, Hosted the Reverse Hashimoto’s Summit. (https://drtalks.com/reverse-hashimotos-summit/)

jamie bothen
jamie bothen
12 days ago

i was supposedly tested for Hashimotos twice. i used to weigh 225 lbs and dropped down to 130 after a year, started noticing hair loss, bloating, loss of eyelashes, atopic dermatisis, plus back then menopause I don’t know if i should ask for another test of Hashimotos

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