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Are Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism the same thing? 


Are Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism the same thing? The short answer is no. They are two different issues in the body. This is very important to understand and to get properly tested so you can know which one you have, or if you have both. Let’s take a look at the difference of Hashimoto’s vs. Hypothyroid.

Are Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism the same thing? 

What is Hashimoto’s?

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system makes antibodies that attack the thyroid tissues. As the immune system attacks the thyroid, it can cause either low thyroid hormones (hypothyroid) or sometimes high thyroid hormones (hyperthyroid).

How is Hashimoto’s diagnosed?

Hashimoto’s is most often diagnosed when TPO (thyroid peroxidase) antibodies and/or TgAb (thyroglobulin antibodies) are elevated. 

These thyroid antibodies (aka Hashimoto’s) can be present even when TSH, T4, T3, FT4 and FT3 levels are all in optimal ranges. 

What are TPO antibodies (anti-TPO), and what is a “normal” level?

TPO (thyroid peroxidase) is the key enzyme that helps your thyroid make thyroid hormones. Anti-TPO is an antibody that attacks TPO. This is the lab that is most often used to diagnose Hashimoto’s.

An optimal anti-TPO level is usually below 30.

Keep in mind that it’s normal to have a small amount of TPO antibodies in the blood.

What is TgAb and what is a “normal” level?

TgAb (thyroglobulin antibodies), sometimes referred to as TAA (thyroid antithyroglobulin antibody) are antibodies that attack thyroglobulin. Thyroglobulin is a protein produced and used by the thyroid to make T3 and T4.

An optimal TgAb level is 0.

What are the symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease?

There are hundreds of symptoms, but here is a list of some of the most common symptoms:
Hypothyroidism
Hyperthyroidism
Depression
Exhaustion
Brain fog
Unexplained or excessive weight gain or loss
Loss of outer third of eyebrows
Dry or coarse hair
Nervousness
Irritability
Increased sweating
Heart racing
Hand tremors
Muscle cramps
Anxiety
Difficulty sleeping
Reduced libido
Hives
Rashes
Anemia
High cholesterol
Constipation
Thinning of your skin
Fine, brittle hair or hair loss
Weakness in your muscles—especially in the upper arms and thighs
More frequent bowel movements
Low Vitamin D
Low B12 or ferritin
Excessive appetite or loss of appetite
Irregular menstrual cycles
Water retention
Lots of energy (often too much)

What causes Hashimoto’s?

It is usually a combination of root issues that eventually cause the immune system to begin attacking the thyroid tissues.

Two key root causes are always stressors and some kind of gut issue. Other root causes can additionally be: a virus or bacteria, dental infections, mental stress, emotional stress, physical stress, radiation, heavy metals, processed foods, nutrient deficiencies, etc.

To read more about root causes of Hashimoto’s, click here.

How does eating, diet, and nutrition affect Hashimoto’s disease?

Absolutely! The best way I can describe it is that the foods we eat, give the cells of our body the tools that it needs to function.

The cells of our body make up the tissues. The tissues make up the organs. And, the organs make up the systems of the entire body.

If you are providing your cells with the nutrients they need to function well, then the body will be well. So yes, your diet can make a massive impact on the health of your body and especially when it comes to Hashimoto’s.

What is hypothyroidism? 

Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. This can also be called underactive thyroid.

How is Hypothyroidism Diagnosed?

Hypothyroidism is most often diagnosed when TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels are elevated, free T4 levels are low and/or free T3 levels are low. But, oftentimes a doctor will diagnose a patient with hypothyroidism when they see just high TSH levels. 

What is TSH and what is  “normal” level?

TSH is a hormone that the pituitary sends out to tell the thyroid how much or how little thyroid hormones to produce. 

Please note: TSH levels tell you what your pituitary is up to, but it’s not telling you what the thyroid is doing. 

Everyone is biochemically individual, but functional medicine has found that a TSH level between 0.5-2.0mIU/L is the range where people feel healthy and vibrant. Most labs have “normal” TSH ranges that span anywhere from 4.0-8.0, but most people with TSH levels this high don’t feel well and need to make some steps to reduce their TSH level. 

What is free T4 and what is a  “normal” level?

Free T4 is a hormone produced by the thyroid. You want free T4 levels to be in the middle of the lab range. So if the range is 1.0-3.0ng/dL, you want your free T4 to be 2 (or close to it). Each lab has a different range, so you have to look at what the specific range is to know what number to look for.

What is free T3 and what is a “normal” level?

Free T3 is a hormone that mostly comes from T4. The thyroid makes T4 and sends most of it to the liver to be converted to free T3. 

You want free T3 to be in the middle of the lab range. So if the range is 1.0-3.0ng/dL, you want your free T3 to be 2 or close to it. Each lab has a different range, so you have to look at what the specific range is to know what number to look for. 

What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?

There are actually hundreds of symptoms, but here’s a list of some of the most common:
Feeling tired
Anxiety
Thinning or loss of outer third of eyebrows
Depression
Weight gain
Feeling cold
Irritability
Hair loss or thinning
Weakness and aches in muscles and joints
Itchy and dry skin
Difficulty concentrating
Brain fog
Constipation
Heavy or irregular periods
Puffy face
Hoarseness in the voice
Muscle weakness
Elevated cholesterol
Slowed heart rate
Low blood pressure
Insomnia
Brittle nails
Muscle loss
Low libido
Infertility and miscarriage
Lack of motivation
Digestive issues
Low vitamin D
Low B12
Weak immune system
Low ferritin (or anemia)
Needing a nap in the afternoon
Chronic fatigue
Diminished appetite
Low basal body temperature
Frequent infections
Lump in throat

What causes hypothyroidism?

It can be caused from a myriad of different things such as low iodine, low tyrosine, thyroid antibodies, low vitamin D, liver issues, toxins, chronic stress, etc.

Can you have both Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroid?

Yes, you can have both.

If you have Hypothyroid, does this automatically mean you have Hashimoto’s? 

No. You can have low thyroid hormones or low TSH (a pituitary hormone), but not have thyroid antibodies. This is why it’s so important to get a full thyroid panel.

What testing should I get to see if I have Hashimoto’s and/or Hypothroyidism? 

Here is a list to ask your practitioner for:
TSH
fT4
fT3
rT3
TPOab
TgAB

Why won’t my doctor test for Hashimoto’s?

For some reason, most medical doctors will not test for antibodies, so many people experience push-back when they ask for a full thyroid panel. 

I think this might be because the conventional medical community doesn’t have a medication or treatment for Hashimoto’s antibodies themselves, so it doesn’t usually change the treatment plan.

If your practitioner refuses to test thyroid hormones or antibodies, it might be time to get a second opinion. Or, you can order them yourself here.

Can I reduce Hashimoto’s antibodies?

Yes, there are steps one can take to heal the immune system and reduce antibodies in the body. I was able to put my Hashimoto’s into remission and have seen this happen for many clients that I’ve worked with at my practice (all confirmed by their doctors).

Also, it’s important to note that studies show that if you have one diagnosed autoimmune disease that it opens the door to possible be diagnosed with three more! Wow! This is definitely a reason to take some steps to start turning things back around.

Here are some holistic first steps that I recommend taking if you have Hashimoto’s.

So, are Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism the same thing?

No, they aren’t. As you can see, hypothyroid is when thyroid hormones are low in the body (and sometimes doctors will diagnose one Hypothyroidism when only TSH is elevated). And Hashimoto’s is an immune system issue that can affect the thyroid.

I’ve walked through both Hypothyroid and Hashimoto’s (I’m now in remission) and I know how frustrating and painful it can all be. I want to let you know that there is hope! There are things you can do to turn things back around and feel like yourself one day. 

What natural steps can I take if I have Hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s?

If you have either one of these issues (or both!) here are some first steps you can take for Hypothyroid or Hashimoto’s and start turning things back around. 

I also have a free class where I walk through some actionable steps you can start making today! 



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