Autoimmune thyroid, known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. Testing for this condition requires a simple blood test for thyroid peroxidase antibody (TPOAb) and thyroglobulin antibody (TgAb).
New research from the International Congress of Endocrinology and European Congress of Endocrinology reported that one in six people with autoimmune thyroid have another autoimmune condition as well which requires additional workup.
The most common co-conditions included atrophic gastritis, vitiligo, celiac, antiphospholipids syndrome, and multiple sclerosis. They were also more likely to have thyroxine malabsorption, unexplained anemia, and recurrent pregnancy loss.
Atrophic gastritis occurs when there is chronic inflammation of certain cells in the stomach leading to malabsorption, pain, loss of intrinsic factor (B12 absorption), fullness, nausea, bloating, heartburn, and gas.
Vitiligo occurs when your body attacks the melanocytes in your skin causing white patches to form.
Celiac is the autoimmune condition that happens when cells of the intestines get attacked upon eating foods with wheat or gluten in them.
Antiphospholipid syndrome is commonly associated with lupus and is characterized by blood clots and pregnancy problems often resulting in miscarriage.
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord that can cause vision issues, muscle problems, poor balance and motor control, spasms, weakness or tremors.
If you have a thyroid problem, or suspect a thyroid problem but you are told your numbers are normal, ask your health care provider to have you tested for thyroid antibodies.
It’s also important to watch for these other autoimmune conditions as they can have some serious ramifications. Autoimmune conditions tend to have a genetic component. Ask about your family history and see if there is a pattern.
1. Joint 15th International Congress of Endocrinology (ICE) and 14th European Congress of Endocrinology (ECE). Web. 16 May, 2012.
2. Gastritis, Atrophic. Web. 16 May, 2012.
3. Guideline for the Diagnosis and Management of Vitiligo. Web. 16 May, 2012.
4. Management of the Antiphospholipid Syndrome: New Approaches. Web. 16 May, 2012.
Reviewed May 17, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith