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What You Need To Know

Hashimoto's disease, also known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland. It is named after Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, who first described the condition in 1912.

In Hashimoto's disease, the body's immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, leading to inflammation and damage. This results in a gradual destruction of the thyroid tissue, causing a decrease in thyroid hormone production, or hypothyroidism.

The thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones that regulate various bodily functions, including metabolism, growth, and development.


To obtain a diagnosis of Hashimoto's disease, you would typically need to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a primary care physician or an endocrinologist. Here are the general steps involved in the diagnostic process:

  • Medical history and physical examination: Your doctor will begin by asking about your symptoms and medical history, including any family history of thyroid disorders or autoimmune conditions. They will also conduct a physical examination to assess the thyroid gland and check for any signs of enlargement or tenderness.

  • Blood tests: Blood tests are crucial for diagnosing Hashimoto's disease. The following tests are commonly performed: Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), in the blood, Antibody tests (thyroid peroxidase antibodies and thyroglobulin antibodies. Elevated levels of these antibodies indicate an autoimmune response against the thyroid gland.

  • Ultrasound imaging: In some cases, an ultrasound of the thyroid gland may be performed to assess its size, structure, and the presence of any nodules or abnormalities.

  • Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy: If nodules or suspicious findings are detected during the ultrasound, your healthcare provider may recommend a fine-needle aspiration biopsy. This involves using a thin needle to extract a small sample of thyroid tissue for further analysis.

  • Fatigue and weakness: Feeling excessively tired, lacking energy, and experiencing muscle weakness.

  • Weight gain: Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

  • Cold intolerance: Feeling unusually sensitive to cold temperatures.

  • Constipation

  • Dry skin and hair: Skin may become dry, rough, and itchy. Hair may become dry, brittle, and prone to breakage.

  • Hair loss: Experiencing hair thinning or hair loss, including the outer edges of the eyebrows.

  • Depressed mood

  • Impaired memory and concentration: Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, and slowed cognitive function.

  • Muscle aches and joint pain

  • Menstrual irregularities: Irregular or heavier menstrual periods in women, and decreased libido in both men and women.

  • Slow heart rate

  • Swelling: Experiencing puffiness or swelling in the face, especially around the eyes.

  • "Wait and monitor" if you are not currently experiencing hypothyroidism, but there are indications that your thyroid function is suboptimal or there are signs of Hashimoto's disease

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy to replace the deficient thyroid hormones with synthetic thyroid hormone medication to restore normal thyroid function.

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A Functional Medicine Approach to Hashimoto's & Hypothyroidism

Functional medicine approaches Hashimoto's disease by looking beyond the symptoms and focusing on the underlying imbalances and dysfunctions within the body.

While hormone replacement is essential for maintaining thyroid function, it may not resolve all of the symptoms associated with Hashimoto's. This is because the root cause lies within the immune system dysfunction, not just the hormone deficiency.


The goal is to identify and address the root causes of the autoimmune response against the thyroid gland. Here are some key components of a functional medicine approach to Hashimoto's:

  • COMPREHENSIVE EVALUATION: A thorough assessment of your medical history, symptoms, lifestyle factors, and environmental exposures will be conducted. We aim to understand the interconnectedness of various bodily systems and how they may contribute to Hashimoto's.

  • FUNCTIONAL TESTING:  We may recommend specialised tests to evaluate imbalances and dysfunctions that conventional tests may not detect. These tests can include comprehensive thyroid panels, assessments of nutrient deficiencies, evaluation of adrenal function, gut health analysis, and tests for food sensitivities and environmental toxins.

  • ADDRESSING GUT HEALTH: The gut plays a crucial role in immune function, and its health can influence autoimmune conditions. Healing the gut lining, balancing gut bacteria, and addressing conditions like leaky gut are often key components of a functional medicine approach to Hashimoto's.

  • NUTRITION AND LIFESTYLE MODIFICATIONS: Diet and lifestyle changes are emphasised in functional medicine. This may involve identifying and eliminating trigger foods, emphasising a nutrient-dense diet rich in whole foods, and addressing nutrient deficiencies that may contribute to thyroid dysfunction. Lifestyle factors such as stress management, sleep optimisation, stabilise blood sugar, and regular physical activity are also important considerations.

  • MANAGING AND REDUCING INFLAMMATION: Reducing overall inflammation in the body is a focus of functional medicine. This can involve dietary and lifestyle modifications, targeted supplementation to support a balanced immune response.

  • BALANCING HORMONES: In addition to addressing the autoimmune aspect, we may assess and support other hormonal imbalances that can impact thyroid function, such as imbalances in sex hormones, cortisol levels, and insulin resistance.

To take a proactive role in managing your health, we encourage you to reach out to our team. We have extensive experience assisting individuals with conditions such as Hashimoto's disease and are dedicated to helping you improve your symptoms and overall well-being.



 We offer a range of appointments in-person or online. 
You will receive the same service and expertise from us through our virtual, online clinic, just as you would if you visited us at our London clinic.

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