You may not realize that two seemingly unrelated diseases might be related. Even though these diseases tend to affect different parts of the human body, they may both arise because of very similar inherited tendencies. In the case of Hashimoto’s and Celiac disease, it seems clear that the presence of one means that the other one should be tested for.
This is because both conditions tend to appear together in a significant number of people. They also frequently occur together because they are associated with similar genetic predispositions.
Before drawing a relationship between these two medical conditions, it might be helpful to understand them a little better. This article will explore the following topics:
- The function of the thyroid gland
- An overview of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- An overview of Celiac Disease
- Scientific studies drawing a relationship
- Steps to take if you suspect that you have one or more of these conditions
Prior to discussing the connection between Hashimoto’s and Celiac disease, it is helpful to understand the function of the thyroid gland. This small gland has the big job of regulating metabolism, and it does this job by producing T2 and T3 hormones. When the thyroid gland functions properly, the body gets the signal to produce a satisfactory amount of energy for whatever activities that it is called upon to perform. When the gland does not function properly, patients may suffer from health issues that require medical treatment.
What is Hashimoto’s Disease?
There are different types of thyroid diseases. Sometimes called Autoimmune Thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the most common type of thyroid disease that is diagnosed by doctors today. As the first name implies, it is an autoimmune disease.
As this disease progresses, the thyroid actually enlarges, but it cannot produce enough hormones to regulate energy in the body. Eventually, a patient will suffer from hypothyroidism, and this needs to be treated by a medical doctor. Typical treatments will include medication and possibly diet changes.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is actually a condition that causes the small intestine to become hypersensitive to dietary gluten. As this disease progresses, parts of the small intestine can actually become damaged. This makes it difficult for people who suffer from this disease to digest food properly.
Gluten is a very common ingredient in bread and other types of food. People who suspect they may suffer from this condition should seek treatment from a doctor. Treatment might include medication and/or a change in diet.
Is there a Connection Between Hashimoto’s and Celiac Disease?
The relationship between these two diseases has been established. The first clue is the significant number of people who suffer from both. Also, scientists have established that both diseases tend to arise because of common genetic predispositions. Scientists believe that the genetic links explain why celiacs tend to suffer from autoimmune thyroid disorders more than members of the general population.
Consider some findings from a variety of medical research studies:
- According to studies Celiac disease occurs four to fifteen times as often in people with thyroid conditions than in the general population.
- In the adult population, Celiac disease occurs between about 3.3 and 4.8 percent of the time in people who suffer from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- The conclusions of these studies is that people who suffer from one of these conditions should be screened for the other condition.
What Should you do if you Suspect Hashimoto’s or Celiac Disease?
Of course, you should always visit your doctor if you are not feeling well for any length of time. Symptoms of Celiac disease might include bloating, abdominal pain, nausea, and other types of gastric distress. Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include fatigue, unexplained weight gain, and more. If you have already been diagnosed with one of these medical conditions, you should suggest checking for the other one.
In any case, you might try a gluten-free diet to see if that helps relieve your symptoms. Even people who have not yet been diagnosed with any specific disease are finding that a gluten-free diet helps alleviate digestive problems, but if you do have a tendency to develop Celiac Disease, you might need to stop eating gluten to avoid intestinal damage. As always, discuss any concerns you might have with your physician.
Do you think that you may be suffering from Hashimoto’s or Celiac disease? Contact us today to see what options Dr. Cohen may have for you.