What is thyroiditis?
Before talking about what thyroiditis is, we should review what we know about the thyroid gland.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located in the front of the neck. This small gland produces hormones that control the pace of several metabolic activities in our body, such as the speed with which calories are burned, the speed with which the heart beats or maintaining the proper body temperature.
When the thyroid gland is damaged, weight is one of the most visible things that may be affected; people have problems losing weight (hypothyroidism, which is when the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones) or problems gaining weight (hyperthyroidism, which is when the thyroid gland overproduces thyroid hormones). Inflammation of the thyroid gland may be caused by a viral infection or an autoimmune disorder.
In both cases, it is a dysfunction of the thyroid gland.
Types of Thyroiditis
When the thyroid gland is affected and stops working properly (over or underproducing the hormone), three main types of thyroid disorders may occur:
- Thyroid cancer.
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).
- Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (underactive thyroid) The latter is the one we are going to focus on.
Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease, characterized by the destruction of the thyroid gland, mediated by autoantibodies.
When the thyroid does not generate enough of the hormone T4 (responsible for regulating the metabolism or energy expenditure in our body), hypothyroidism occurs, that is, a global decrease in organic activity that affects metabolic, neuronal, cardiocirculatory, digestive, etc. functions. This makes the body use energy more slowly and the chemical activity of the cells occurs more slowly.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and electrostimulation
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a disorder that occurs due to a reduction in the activity of the thyroid gland. The synthesis of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) is regulated by thyrotropin (TSH) secreted in the pituitary gland. The mission of these hormones is to regulate the body’s metabolic reactions, like the consumption of fatty acids. When there is a reduction in the activity of these hormones, an increase in the fat percentage occurs. That’s why the objective of the electrostimulation training program and the nutritional plan must be focused on the loss of fat percentage.
The EMS suit generates an electrical stimulus, causing our muscles to contract at frequencies and intensities controlled from a device. And so, electrofitness will give your training the extra boost it needs to achieve fast and visible results in just a few sessions, in addition to other benefits of EMS (Electrical Muscle Stimulation). We’ll describe below a success story we had at Wiems Lab.
Marta, a patient with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis tries electrostimulation training
Marta started out weighing 72.7 kg, with a high percentage of fat in the thigh area causing cellulite. To achieve the objective, we used full-body electrostimulation (WB-EMS), which provided us with a higher caloric expenditure during the sessions and a higher quality of muscle contraction during strength exercises.
In addition to the WB-EMS, we implemented a three-month electrostimulation training program, with circuits of strength training and Tabata cardio at the end of the session. This helped us get to a caloric deficit at the end of the day.
In the second mesocycle of electrostimulation training, there was a significant reduction in fat percentage and body perimeters, and once the training program was completed, we were able to significantly reduce body fat.
After including Wiemspro in her electrostimulation training program, the changes were visible and her body perceived the benefits that the electrical impulse brings in many respects.
Improvements during and after the electrostimulation training program
- Improvement of the global fat percentage.
- Improvement of stress levels which indirectly influence hormonal levels.
- Improvement of muscle tone and posture.
- Improved muscle strength.
- Improvement of the quality of the stabilizing muscles (CORE) and shoulder girdle.
- Improved aerobic and anaerobic endurance.
- Improved mobility of all joints.
- Improved quality of sleep.
Who is affected by Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?
Approximately 5% of the population suffer from hypothyroidism, being more frequent in women in their 40s, and in people with a family history of thyroid disease. The postpartum period is also when this problem typically occurs.
We’re still not sure why the immune system attacks this gland. Some experts believe that it’s due to the participation of a virus or bacteria, while others consider that it’s a genetic issue; in fact, there is a hereditary factor. You are at higher risk for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis disease if you have a family member with a thyroid disorder or another autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, or lupus.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may start with a feeling of congestion in the neck and swelling (goiter) and usually progresses slowly.
In this type of thyroiditis, a deficit of thyroid hormones occurs, causing the metabolism to slow down and, with it, the functioning of the body. This “stop” produces a series of anomalies such as:
- Cholesterol, puffy face, and weight gain due to water retention.
- Tiredness, fatigue, feeling drowsy.
- Sensitivity to cold.
- Dry skin, hair loss, brittle nails, blurred vision.
- Cognitive problems: tendency towards depression, irritability, lack of concentration, memory problems.
- Constipation, menstrual cycle irregularities.
- Muscle pain, tenderness, and stiffness.
Diagnosis of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
The diagnosis is based mainly on a physical examination and a blood test to determine if the person has antithyroid antibodies.
Typically, patients who develop thyroiditis go to the doctor with symptoms like fatigue, problems conceiving, a lump in the neck (goiter), changes in the skin or hair, and hoarseness or pain in the area of the thyroid.
Based on these symptoms, a physical examination is conducted to see if the thyroid is swollen, and a blood test is ordered to measure thyroid hormone levels. If the doctor suspects the patient has Hashimoto’s disease, but the patient does not have antibodies in their blood, they will have a thyroid ultrasound to see the size of the thyroid, among other things.
If the blood test is positive, the following tests may also be conducted:
- Thyroid scan and uptake: For this test, a small amount of radioactive iodine is swallowed so that it is absorbed by the thyroid gland.
Then, through a gamma camera, we see the amount of iodine absorbed by the thyroid gland.
- Biopsy: A thin, hollow needle is inserted through the skin into the thyroid gland or suspicious nodule to remove a small sample of tissue and determine if there is a risk of cancer.
- Imaging tests (CT scan, PET / CT scan, whole body iodine scan): If the previous test is positive for cancer, this test is conducted to observe its size and location.
There is no way to prevent this disorder, but if we are aware of the symptoms we may present, we will have an early diagnosis and treatment.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis treatment
The treatment of hypothyroidism consists of increasing the production of the thyroid gland through the administration of a thyroid hormone called levothyroxine. This treatment also helps to reduce the size of the hypertrophied thyroid gland.
Because it is a chronic disease, treatment is usually for life, since autoimmune hypothyroidism can’t be cured and is irreversible. However, people who suffer from it may lead completely normal lives with thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
What’s more, people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis who are not undergoing thyroid hormone replacement therapy should avoid eating foods with excess iodine.
At Wiemspro and, in particular, in our scientific laboratory specialized in the study of WB-EMS, Wiems Lab, we carefully analyze each client’s condition and, depending on each one, we apply personalized techniques that are adapted to their needs, always using methodologies based on scientific evidence.
We hope that this content is useful and serves as a reference for your day-to-day life if you have patients who suffer from this disorder or other similar ones. We will publish more soon.