The Difference Between Hashimoto's Disease vs Graves' Disease
Let's explore two different autoimmune conditions that can affect your thyroid gland: Hashimoto's disease and Graves' disease.
Don't worry if you've never heard of them before; I'm here to break it down for you in a simple way!
First things first, let's talk about your thyroid gland. It's a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck. The thyroid gland is a gland that produces hormones, which are chemical messengers that help regulate your body's functions.
Hashimoto's disease & grave's disease are autoimmune thyroid diseases that affect your thyroid in opposite ways. Both of these autoimmune diseases are a result of a dysfunctional immune system which targets your thyroid.
Your immune system will get confused and starts damaging your thyroid gland.
With Hashimoto's, your immune system damages parts of your thyroid that make hormones which makes it harder for it to produce enough thyroid hormones to function properly. As a result, your body slows down and you can develop hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
On the other hand, in Graves' disease, the immune system goes a bit haywire and starts sending out signals to tell your thyroid to work extra hard and produce too many hormones. Your body goes into hyperdrive, like a race car with its pedal to the metal and unable to stop!
So, the main difference between Hashimoto's disease and Graves' disease is how they affect the thyroid gland. In Hashimoto's, the thyroid gland becomes underactive, while in Graves', it becomes overactive. It's like two sides of a coin!
Now, let's explore some of the symptoms of these two conditions. Remember, symptoms are like clues that can help us figure out what's going on in our bodies.
In Hashimoto's disease, some common symptoms include feeling tired and sluggish, gaining weight, losing hair, swelling, having a hard time concentrating, and feeling cold all the time. It's like your body's energy levels are running low, just like when a car is low on fuel.
On the other hand, Graves' disease can make you feel like you have too much energy. Symptoms may include feeling restless, losing weight without trying, having a rapid heartbeat, having trouble sleeping, and feeling hot all the time. It's like your body's energy levels are on full blast, just like when your superhero team is on a mission!
It's important to remember that both conditions can affect people of any age or gender. They are more common in adults, but kids can develop Hashimoto's or Graves' disease too!
If you ever suspect that you or someone you know might have either of these conditions, it's important to see a doctor. They might run some tests, like blood tests, and ask you questions about how you're feeling to get a better idea of what's going on.
The conventional treatment for Hashimoto's disease is to "wait and see" and thyroid hormone replacement medication. Unfortunately, most of the time a doctor will wait until your thyroid is so damaged that it shows up in your labs AND THEN they will prescribe you thyroid hormones and that's it. Until then, they don't have any solutions for you.
But thyroid hormones are just a band-aid for your thyroid. It doesn't address the reason WHY this all happened in the first place.
Naturopathic medicine for Hashimoto's addresses the reason why it happened in the first place. Read my blog article about what those triggers are and what Hashimoto's treatment would address.
For Graves' disease, the treatment can be a bit different. Sometimes, doctors might prescribe medication to slow down the thyroid gland and reduce the production of hormones. In more severe cases, they might even suggest other treatments like radioactive iodine or surgery, but these treatments will require you to be on thyroid medication for life and still doesn't address the underlying issues about why it started in the first place.
Just to recap, in Hashimoto's disease, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to become underactive. This can lead to symptoms like tiredness, weight gain, constipation, and feeling cold.
On the other hand, Graves' disease is when the immune system sends too many signals to the thyroid gland, making it overactive. This can result in symptoms such as restlessness, weight loss, trouble sleeping, increased heart rate, and feeling hot.
Taking care of your body and paying attention to its signals is crucial. Your health is wealth, and staying informed and seeking help when needed as soon as possible increases your chances of getting into remission. If you have thyroid antibodies or your doctor is telling you to "wait and see", you can start doing something about it NOW! Apply to become a patient HERE and let's start improving your symptoms today.