By now I’m sure each and every one of you are familiar with the term autoimmune disease.
But for those of you who are not familiar…
According to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, an autoimmune disease develops when your immune system, which defends your body against disease, decides your healthy cells are foreign. As a result, your immune system attacks healthy cells. However, depending on the type, an autoimmune disease can affect one or many different types of body tissue. It can also cause abnormal organ growth and changes in organ function.
This morning I was reading up on the news (as I always do). I checked for breaking news on CNN, checked for human interest stories on the Huffington Post, and I of course checked my Google alerts for any lupus related stories. I found one story in particular that caught my eye. It was a story written on Newsmax that mentioned four autoimmune diseases related to hypothyroidism.
It peaked my interest. I wondered if Lupus had made the list.
So what exactly was this news about hypothyroidism and lupus having some sort of relation?
Well, according to the Mayo Clinic, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease). However, it’s not just Hashimoto’s that can affect the thyroid.
The three additional autoimmune diseases that can be connected to hypothyroidism are:
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Type 1 Diabetes
In the case of lupus, I know that when one is diagnosed with lupus, they almost always are diagnosed with something else.
But in this case, I wasn’t even aware that a thyroid disease was or could even be considered an autoimmune disease (I guess they all work the same). I did find that it is only an autoimmune disease when it becomes Hypothyroidism- a disease where the thyroid gland does not produce sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones, causing numerous effects including decreased metabolic rates, fatigue, depression, and more.
Patients with lupus are more likely to develop thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, according to Oxford Journals. In their study, compared to the general population, there was a 3 percent increase of individuals with lupus who go on to develop hypothyroidism. Experts recommend patients with lupus consider being tested for thyroid diseases.