The 5 Stages of Hashimoto’s

If you have been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I believe it is important to know at which stage you are.  Most patients are only finally diagnosed at the advanced stages, where there is already significant damage to the thyroid gland. 

Stage 1: Genetic predisposition

You have the genes that puts you at risk for Hashimoto’s, but you don’t have any symptoms or have thyroid antibodies.  You likely have a family history of hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s. 

Stage 2: Immune cell infiltration of the thyroid gland

Something triggered your genes or your immune system, and you will see thyroid antibodies in your blood labs.  You may start experience symptoms of either hypothyroidism (underactive) or hyperthyroidism (overactive), or both.  The rest of your thyroid blood tests are likely to be “normal”, even though you may be experiencing symptoms. 

If you don’t take action to reduce and stop the autoimmune activity, you will likely progress to stage 3.   This process may take years. 

Stage 3: Subclinical hypothyroidism

Because of the autoimmune activity, there is now damage to the thyroid gland your thyroid gland cannot produce the number of thyroid hormones anymore that your body needs. It will clearly show in your blood test results, and you will likely continue to have symptoms of hypo and/or hypothyroidism (which may be very confusing for doctors to diagnose you).

Your doctor will likely now start thyroid hormone replacement therapy.  Some doctors may still refuse to start the treatment. 

Stage 4: Overt hypothyroidism

Most patients are finally diagnosed at this stage with Hashimoto’s (which is usually too late to stop the autoimmune attack).  There is severe damage to the thyroid gland, and thyroid hormone replacement therapy is very important to prevent serious health consequences.  

It is also important to address the immune system and autoimmunity – an aspect that most conventional doctors will not address.  

Stage 5: Progression to other autoimmune disorders

Once you have one autoimmune disease, you are much more likely to develop another.  This may happen despite the thyroid hormone replacement therapy and even if all your thyroid lab markers are “normal’.  If you fail to address the autoimmunity, your body may start to create antibodies to other tissues in your body. 

Adele du Rand

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