Autoimmunity is a condition in the body caused as a result of several environmental, physical or physiological stressors being in constant interplay within our body. There can be genetic factors or triggers to this condition as well. There are several triggers which cause our inbuilt immune system to dysfunction under their influence. This can enable the immunity to either over function or under function. The dysfunctional immune system thus produces killer cells or antibodies against the natural, healthy cells of various bodily organs. This can be life threatening in the long run since it can cause havoc in the functioning of several vital organs of the body.
Hypothyroidism is one such disease, the cause of which has been attributed to the dysfunctional immune system since it is still unknown as to what causes the thyroid gland to produce inadequate amounts of thyroid hormones and cause this condition.
But, several studies have shown a correlation between auto-immune diseases such as lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, type-1 diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis and developing hypothyroidism. These auto-immune diseases are mainly systemic in nature, i.e. the immunity attacks cells of most body parts in these diseases. Such widespread immune attack is bound to affect each organ in some way in the long run, including the thyroid gland.
Following are mentioned the ways in which the thyroid gland may be affected causing hypothyroidism due to the below-mentioned auto-immune diseases:
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid is a chronic auto-immune disease where the peripheral joints & extremities are affected. Hypothyroidism has most commonly been found in patients with chronic RA.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Lupus is another condition where there are inflammatory outbreaks manifesting on the skin due to the immune system attacking healthy tissues. It can affect the skin, blood cells, kidneys, brain, heart & lungs.
Many studies have shown a majority of SLE patients have the presence of thyroid auto antibodies in serum and have found to precede auto-immune thyroid diseases in such patients.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
In this condition, the immune system attacks the nervous system. So it is the brain & spinal cord that are affected. Studies have shown that majority patients with MS had mainly hypothyroidism with few of them having thyroiditis and benign thyroid nodules.
Type-1 diabetes involves the auto-destruction of pancreatic cells which supply insulin for glucose utilization. Hypothyroidism is mainly observed in these patients more so due to decreased pituitary stimulation (hypo-pituitarism) than direct thyroid cell destruction.
Can These Be Controlled?
The genetic triggers cannot be humanly modified exogenously, but exposure to several other triggers can be minimized to prevent the aggravation of most of the aforementioned conditions.
- Minimizing unrestricted use of medications & vaccines
- Certain medicinal compounds on a long-term basis may trigger an autoimmune reaction
- Reducing intake of foods & grains grown with excess of pesticides & chemicals
- Harmful chemicals used to protect foods from damage may trigger an immune reaction when reaches the body
- Preventing parasitic & bacterial infection of GI tract
- Long term intake of unhygienic, raw foods may contain germs which may trigger autoimmunity
- Minimizing exposure to radiation (electromagnetic radiation through electronic gadgets)
- Prone to cause aberrations in genes in the long run
- Correcting nutrient deficiencies
- Checking for selenium & iodine deficiencies has prevented aggravation of hypothyroidism
Disclaimer: Results may vary from person to person due to lifestyle, healthy eating, body type and dedication to the program. No individual result should be seen as typical. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.