Autoimmune disorders and risk of infection

Having an autoimmune condition, or a thyroid condition can make you more susceptible to coronavirus complications. Think of autoimmune conditions in the same manner you would other immunosuppressive disorders (cancer, organ transplantation, history of radiation treatment or chemotherapy). As it pertains to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves disease or hypothyroidism, you need to be extra vigilant while you’re out in public because your immunity is compromised.

The right dose of thyroid medication, and the right kind are critical because you may not be getting enough active thyroid hormone (T3) to your immune system, which resides primarily in the intestines. While your body struggles to make do with whatever hormone is available in your body, you may experience symptoms such as poor concentration, chronic fatigue, hair loss, apathy, sensations of being cold, depression and/or anxiety.

If you have autoimmune thyroid disease, or hypothyroidism, your immune system may not be able to protect you from foreign “antigens” or invaders. These include new cancer cells, microorganisms, toxins and even simplistic signals that your body should “see” and don’t, due to low thyroid. If you’re low in thyroid, your protection against invaders is hindered.

When you have poor T4 to T3 conversion, I call it being “thyroid sick”. The situation makes you hypothyroid and you could have many, if not all, the symptoms that go with it, especially suppressed immune function, and more frequent colds, fever blisters, rashes and UTIs.

Some doctors prescribe both medications to a patient, meaning both T4 drugs and T3, but getting the right dose is tough on doctors (and patients) because it’s like trying to hit a moving target.

Generally speaking, because the cytokines will be imbalanced in a person with autoimmunity, the recovery time from an infection could be lengthened.

There are vitamins that can keep your immune system in tip-top shape during the season. And also I’m passionate about herbal medicine. One reason that herbs work well and have strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic effect is because they have a wide spectrum of medicinally active constituents.

This means they have a wide range of beneficial impacts in the body aside from their “kill” action.

I want each of you to be very thoughtful and never suddenly go off your medication because of something you read. Going off a medication can be problematic for two main reasons:

1. It leaves your condition less controlled, and your symptoms will flare up and that’s bad for your health.

2. Some medications will induce serious and sometimes life-threatening symptoms of withdrawal unless they are slowly weaned over months, with physician supervision.

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