Hashimoto’s Disease Testing
Dr. Leigh Ann Scott and Nurse Practitioners Elise Lewis and Sue Miller are experts in diagnosing and treating Hashimoto’s Disease and other hormonal imbalances. This condition is an auto-immune disorder of the thyroid gland. It occurs when the body views it as a foreign invader and wages an attack against it.
The mainstream medical community’s thyroid testing does not usually test for Hashimoto’s. Instead, they will check TSH levels (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), and possibly T4 hormone. While these tests are effective, they are not comprehensive enough to identify auto-immune issues and some other disorders of the thyroid that may be occurring.
Here in our Las Colinas office, we see a lot of patients who are frustrated because they are currently on thyroid medication but are not feeling any better. Some people have had some testing done and told that their lab values fall into the “normal” range so they’re not receiving any treatment at all. Dr. Scott, Elise, and Sue are here to help you and have the knowledge and understanding of how the thyroid gland works, the correct testing to do, and how to properly treat it so that you can feel healthy again.
Our lab tests for thyroid issues are all-encompassing and include:
- Reverse T3
- TPO or Thyroid Peroxidase antibodies (Hashimoto’s specific)
- TGab or Thyroglobulin antibodies (Hashimoto’s specific)
“I’ve been seeing Nurse Practitioner Elise Lewis. She’s welcoming, friendly, knowledgeable, listens to the client, and does well with explaining things in a manner that is understandable. I feel confident in working with her to resolve my issues. She seems flexible in her willingness to work with the patient in setting up a tailored game plan and/or meds needed to address and correct issues.” – R.M.
Call 972-589-1677 to speak with our New Patient Coordinator.
Or Send Us a Message using the form below.
The thyroid gland is located at the front of your neck. It secretes hormones that control your metabolism and affects every single cell in your body. It produces T4 hormone and a small amount of T3. As T4 is carried through your body via the bloodstream, it must be converted into T3 in order for your cells to utilize the hormone in order to have energy and function correctly. This conversion occurs in your liver, brain, heart, kidneys, and the GI system.
There are varying problems that can occur with the thyroid gland which result in thyroid disease such as Hashimoto’s. Sometimes the thyroid doesn’t produce enough T4 hormone and this causes a total depletion of both T4 and T3. Other times, the thyroid IS producing enough T4, but the cells and organs are unable to convert it into T3 so while the circulating, inactive hormone is adequate, the cells are starving for energy conversion. These disorders contribute to a sluggish metabolism which is referred to as Hypothyroidism. Symptoms include:
- Underlying daily fatigue
- Hair loss or changes in texture
- Inability to lose weight or weight gain
- Dry skin
- Joint pain
- Muscle aches and pains
- Inability to think with clarity
- Dry skin
- Cold intolerance
- Elevated cholesterol levels
- Irregular periods and/or infertility
Hyperthyroidism is the opposite condition; this occurs when the thyroid produces too much hormone. Instead of being sluggish, the metabolism goes into overdrive which creates symptoms such as:
- Fast heart rate
- Panic attacks
- Generalized anxiety
- Bouts of diarrhea
- Hair loss
- Difficulty falling asleep and/or difficulty staying asleep
- Muscle fatigue
- Weight loss
- Irregular periods and/or infertility
Hyperthyroidism can be a scary condition to experience and often lands people in the emergency room. It is sometimes misdiagnosed as a cardiac issue or an anxiety problem. If left untreated, a complication called Thyrotoxicosis (Thyroid Storm) can occur. Symptoms might include a rapid heart rate, agitation, excessive sweating, nausea, psychosis, and even death.
“I’ve been seeing nurse practitioner Elise Lewis. She’s welcoming, friendly, knowledgeable, listens to the client, and does well with explaining things in a manner that is understandable. I feel confident in working with her to resolve my issues. She seems flexible in her willingness to work with the patient in setting up a tailored game plan and/or meds needed to address and correct issues.” – R.M.
Hashimoto’s Disease Symptoms
Both Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism are disorders of the thyroid, but Hashimoto’s is an immune-system problem that affects the thyroid gland. Initially, it can cause symptoms to go back and forth between Hypothyroid and Hyperthyroid.
Hyperthyroid (overly-functioning thyroid producing too much hormone) symptoms can occur because as the thyroid gland is attacked by the body, it can’t regulate itself. Hormone that is normally held in “storage” is released into the blood stream at greater amounts.
Generally, Hashimoto’s will cause the thyroid gland to become degraded to the point that it can no longer produce enough hormone. In fact, up to 90% of patients who are diagnosed as having Hypothyroidism actually have Hashimoto’s Disease.
Because most physicians will only test your TSH levels, and possibly T4 hormone, the cause of your thyroid condition cannot be identified. So, if you have Hashimoto’s which is an auto-immune disorder, you will be treated for your symptoms, but never the cause. This is why so many patients with Hashimoto’s don’t ever feel better when they are given the standard drug therapy of T4 hormone in the form of Synthroid or Levothyroxine.
“This lady (Dr. Scott) works magic when it comes to hormone balancing.” – Stacy A.
Causes of Hashimoto’s
There are different factors that may contribute to causation of this disorder. When someone has an auto-immune disease, the body doesn’t necessarily only target the thyroid gland. It’s not uncommon for patients to have other auto-immune disorders as well.
Hashimoto’s can be triggered by nutritional deficiencies including iodine, selenium, zinc, and iron. It can be hereditary though it is much more common in women than in men.
Eating a diet high in inflammatory foods can also contribute to auto-immune disorders. These include things like gluten, corn, soy, sugar, wheat, yeast, artificial sweeteners, and anything that is GMO (Genetically modified).
The Hashimoto’s and Gut Health Connection
More and more research has shown that 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut. It turns out that the old saying, “You are what you eat” is true. The gut is home to your microbiome which contains millions of bacteria, organisms, yeasts, and toxins. Eating a diet high in processed foods and sugar is the leading cause of gut dysbiosis. Antibiotic use is also a leading cause of imbalances in the biome since they kill off both the good and the harmful bacteria.
When we don’t eat a clean diet, lead stressful lives, or exercise, the gut can become unhealthy. This paves the way for disease, accelerated aging, and inflammation. The intestinal lining can become compromised and unable to keep toxins from penetrating this protective wall. Toxins, undigested food particles, and harmful bacteria will leak through and cause our immune systems to go into overdrive as it attacks the foreign invaders. The gut becomes inflamed and as the war is waged, inflammation occurs all over the body. However, the immune system can’t differentiate what is good and what is harmful and begins attacking itself. This is how auto-immune disease is born. Other disorders besides Hashimoto’s that can occur include:
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Nutrient malabsorption issues
- GI problems including constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and gas
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Celiac Disease
- Food sensitivities
Getting to the Root of the Problem – A Functional Medicine Approach to Healing
Dr. Scott, Elise, and Sue are all functional medicine practitioners. A conventional approach to medicine includes things like treating acute illness or injury with medication and surgery. While this is appropriate in many situations, it is severely lacking in disease prevention.
In the case of Hashimoto’s, many conventional medicine doctors will test the TSH and T4 part of the thyroid function. As we’ve discussed, if your markers indicate that you have Hypothyroid symptoms, they will treat you for that rather than looking to see what may be causing it. Keep in mind the large percentage of patients whose sluggish thyroids are actually caused by Hashimoto’s, it’s no wonder that so many people are not finding relief and are getting sicker.
A functional medicine approach looks at the interaction of all bodily processes including:
- Endocrine (glands and hormones)
- Immune system
- Nutrition and diet
When a doctor prescribes a pill for just about every ill, all this does is place a band-aid on the situation. The underlying cause is still there and complete healing does not take place unless the patient is treated holistically.
What to Expect from Leigh Ann Scott, M.D. in Las Colinas
Your first visit with us lasts for two hours and all subsequent follow ups will be an hour in length. Prior to coming into our office, we will have you undergo some comprehensive lab testing that includes hormones, thyroid, inflammation levels, liver and kidney function, key nutritional levels, and more.
Our lab testing is much more extensive than what is “standard” by conventional medicine practitioners. This allows us to identify, correctly diagnose, and treat any underlying conditions and will paint a very thorough picture of what your current state of health is. People who have auto-immune disorders like Hashimoto’s often have other hormonal imbalances which we can identify and treat.
Because our appointments are longer than the standard 15-20 minutes, our providers will be able to spend quality time with you to determine what your individualized treatment protocol is. These appointments also encourage a partnership between you and your provider and meaningful discussions can take place regarding lifestyle, diet, nutrition, and disease prevention.
Our providers have helped many people to find relief from hormonal imbalances, thyroid problems, and gut issues.
We offer advanced testing to include cardiovascular health, gut biome imbalances, and food sensitivities. Click HERE to learn more details.
“Dr. Scott is truly brilliant at getting your hormones properly balanced, and I mean the broad spectrum of hormones including the male/female hormones as well as the thyroid, adrenals, etc. She takes a whole-body approach to wellness including gut health, food sensitivities, nutritional deficiencies and much more. She tailors her testing based on your symptoms and history and then tailors the treatment plan based on the labs and test results. She’s like a Sherlock Homes of functional medicine. As well, I’m certain you will fall in love with her right from the get-go as I did. So much care and knowledge packed into one person. She’s a definite WOW!” – Debbie B.
Call 972-589-1677 to speak with our New Patient Coordinator
Or Send Us a Message