Thyroid Disorders and the Immune System

asian doctor is explaining illness situation with thyroid gland model and ultrasound picture to elderly man in hospital

Thyroid disorders and autoimmune disorders go hand-in-hand. MainStreet is here to explore the link between the thyroid and the immune system. 

What is the Thyroid?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the throat. It is responsible for creating T3 and T4 hormones that help our bodies carry out normal functions such as breathing, metabolism, and more. 

How Are The Immune System and Thyroid Interconnected?

Our immune systems are meant to fend off viruses, parasites, and harmful tissues that our body encounters by creating antibodies. 

Autoimmune disorders are what occur when the immune system attacks healthy tissues in the body – and the thyroid can be a victim. 

What Are Thyroid Diseases?

Most thyroid diseases are a type of autoimmune disease, meaning our immune system is causing the disease itself. 

A common autoimmune disease that causes hyperthyroidism is Grave’s disease. Grave’s disease causes an influx of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and is congruent with symptoms like irregular heart beat, anxiety, unexpected weight loss, and more. 

Another common thyroid problem caused by autoimmune disease is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This condition causes the thyroid to swell, and can lead to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Symptoms of hypothyroidism include unexpected weight gain, lack of energy, lowered metabolism, depression, stunted bone growth, and more. 

Diagnosing Autoimmune Disease and Thyroid Disorders 

If you suspect that you may be dealing with an autoimmune disease that causes thyroid dysfunction, it’s time to get tested! Each of these conditions are diagnosed through a simple blood test. 

MainStreet Family Care offers lab tests for all of these conditions through our primary care services

What Are The Treatment Options? 

Thyroid and autoimmune diseases are not curable, but can be treated through lifestyle changes and some medications. Common treatment methods include: 

  • Hormone therapy
  • Beta blockers
  • Thyroidectomy 
  • Radioiodine therapy 

Talk to your primary care provider to see which of these treatments may be best for you. 

Preventing Autoimmune Diseases

According to Very Well Health, most autoimmune diseases are thought to be hereditary. While there is not much you can do to totally prevent them, there are a few things you can do to boost your immune system and avoid them for as long as possible. 

Best practices include: 

  • Engage in an active lifestyle.
  • Eat healthy foods such as leafy green vegetables, lean meats, nuts and seeds, and little processed or sugary foods. 
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Practice stress reduction.

Turn To MainStreet Family Care

Looking for a primary care provider that can help treat autoimmune and thyroid disorders? Look no further! MainStreet Family Care offers testing and treatment through our primary care services. To book your first appointment, sign-up online.