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What is an Auto Immune Thyroid Disease (AITD) and how can TCM help?

14 Mar 2024

By: admin_cleverly

Blog, Acupuncture, Article, Autoimmune Disease, Fertility, Physician Lee 李医师, TCM Herbs

What is an Auto Immune Thyroid Disease (AITD)? Autoimmune thyroid disease, also known as autoimmune thyroiditis or autoimmune thyroid disorder, refers to a group of conditions in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, leading to inflammation and potentially affecting its function. The two main types of autoimmune thyroid disease are:Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: This is the most common form of autoimmune thyroid disease. In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the immune system produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland, leading to chronic inflammation and eventual destruction of thyroid tissue. As a result, the thyroid gland becomes unable to produce enough thyroid hormones, leading to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).Graves’ disease: In Graves’ disease, the immune system produces antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland to produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. This leads to hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and can cause symptoms such as weight loss, rapid heartbeat, tremors, and anxiety.Autoimmune thyroid disease can have various symptoms depending on whether it causes hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Treatment typically involves managing the symptoms and may include medications to regulate thyroid hormone levels, such as thyroid hormone replacement therapy for hypothyroidism or medications to reduce thyroid hormone production for hyperthyroidism. In some cases, surgery or radioactive iodine therapy may be recommended to treat severe cases of hyperthyroidism. AITD and Fertility Autoimmune thyroid disease, particularly when it leads to thyroid dysfunction such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can potentially affect fertility in both men and women. In women, hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can disrupt ovulation and menstrual cycles, leading to irregular or absent periods (amenorrhea) and thus affecting fertility. Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in regulating the menstrual cycle, and low levels or high levels of thyroid hormones can interfere with normal ovulation. In men, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can affect sperm production and quality, leading to reduced fertility. Autoimmune thyroid disease itself, regardless of thyroid hormone levels, has been associated with an increased risk of fertility issues. Autoimmune disorders can cause inflammation and immune system dysfunction, which may affect reproductive organs and processes. How is AITD managed? Autoimmune thyroid disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease, is typically managed through a combination of western medication, lifestyle modifications, and, in some cases, surgical interventions or radioactive iodine therapy. Treatment aims to alleviate symptoms, regulate thyroid hormone levels, and minimize autoimmune-related inflammation. The specific approach to treatment depends on the type and severity of the autoimmune thyroid disease. A balanced diet rich in nutrients, including iodine and selenium, is important for thyroid health. Some individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease may benefit from dietary modifications, such as avoiding excessive iodine intake or following a gluten-free diet if they have coexisting autoimmune conditions like celiac disease. Regular exercise and stress management techniques can help support overall health and may positively impact thyroid function. Individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease require regular monitoring of thyroid hormone levels and thyroid antibodies to assess treatment response and adjust medication dosages as needed. Follow-up appointments with healthcare providers, including endocrinologists, are essential for ongoing management and optimization of treatment strategies. What is TCM perspective on AITD? Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a unique perspective on autoimmune thyroid disease, viewing it as a manifestation of imbalances within the body’s energy systems rather than solely as a malfunction of the thyroid gland itself. In TCM theory, autoimmune thyroid disease is often associated with patterns of disharmony involving multiple organ systems and energetic imbalances. Here are some key aspects of the TCM perspective on autoimmune thyroid disease:Energetic Imbalances: TCM views autoimmune thyroid disease as a result of disruptions in the flow of Qi (vital energy) and Blood, as well as imbalances between Yin and Yang energies within the body. These imbalances can affect the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and contribute to the development of autoimmune conditions.Organ Systems Involved: According to TCM, the health of the thyroid gland is closely connected to the functioning of other organ systems, including the Spleen, Kidney, Liver, and Heart. Imbalances in these organ systems can contribute to the development or exacerbation of autoimmune thyroid disease.Patterns of Disharmony: TCM practitioners diagnose autoimmune thyroid disease based on patterns of disharmony, which may include:Spleen Qi Deficiency: Weakness or dysfunction of the Spleen, which may lead to poor digestion, fatigue, and accumulation of Dampness in the body.Kidney Yin Deficiency: Insufficiency of Kidney Yin, which may manifest as heat symptoms, night sweats, and dryness in the body.Liver Qi Stagnation: Impaired flow of Liver Qi, which can result in emotional imbalances, stress, and stagnant energy in the body.Heart and Kidney Yang Deficiency: Weakness or depletion of Heart and Kidney Yang energies, leading to cold intolerance, fatigue, and fluid retention. How can TCM help manage AITD? The management of autoimmune thyroid disease through TCM aims to rebalance the body’s energies and address the underlying patterns of disharmony. Treatment modalities may include:Acupuncture: Acupuncture points are selected to stimulate Qi flow and promote balance within the body’s energy systems.Herbal Medicine: Chinese herbal formulas are prescribed to tonify deficient energies, clear heat, resolve stagnation, and harmonize Yin and Yang.Dietary Therapy: Recommendations for dietary modifications may be provided to support digestion, nourish Yin, and avoid foods that exacerbate Dampness or heat.Lifestyle Recommendations: TCM often emphasizes lifestyle factors such as stress management, adequate rest, and regular exercise to support overall health and balance.Individualized Treatment: TCM treatment is highly individualized, with practitioners tailoring therapy to address each patient’s unique pattern of disharmony and constitution. Conclusion It’s important to note that while TCM can offer complementary approaches to managing autoimmune thyroid disease, it should not replace conventional medical care. Individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease should work with qualified healthcare providers, including TCM practitioners and conventional medical doctors, to develop comprehensive treatment plans that address their specific needs.
Understanding Basic TCM Concepts: Qi and Blood

17 Feb 2024

By: Lee Hui Min

Blog, Article, General Health, Physician Lee 李医师

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Qi (pronounced “chee”) and Blood are considered two essential substances that are crucial for maintaining health and vitality.Qi is often translated as “vital energy” or “life force.” It is believed to be the force that animates all living things and is responsible for various functions in the body, such as breathing, digestion, and circulation. In TCM, the concept of Qi is closely related to the idea of Yin and Yang, as well as the Five Elements.Blood, on the other hand, refers to the fluid that circulates in the blood vessels and nourishes the body’s tissues and organs. In TCM, Blood is considered to be a substance that provides nourishment and vitality to the body. It is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and organs, regulating body temperature, and supporting the immune system.According to TCM theory, Qi and Blood are interconnected and interdependent. They work together to maintain the balance and harmony of the body. If there is a deficiency or imbalance of Qi or Blood, it can lead to various health problems. Therefore, maintaining a healthy balance of Qi and Blood is essential for optimal health and well-being in TCM.Qi and Blood work together to regulate the circulation of fluids in the body. Qi helps to move Blood through the blood vessels, while Blood provides nourishment to the tissues and organs. If there is a deficiency of Qi, the Blood may not circulate properly, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, cold hands and feet, and poor digestion.Qi is responsible for generating warmth in the body, while Blood helps to regulate body temperature. If there is a deficiency of Qi or Blood, the body may have difficulty maintaining a normal body temperature, leading to symptoms such as chills or fever.Blood is essential for nourishing the muscles and tendons, while Qi helps to move the limbs and facilitate movement. If there is a deficiency of Blood, the muscles and tendons may become weak and stiff, while a deficiency of Qi may result in fatigue and lack of energy.Qi and Blood are both important for supporting the immune system. Qi helps to defend the body against external pathogens, while Blood provides the nutrients necessary for the immune system to function properly. If there is a deficiency of Qi or Blood, the immune system may be weakened, making the body more susceptible to illness.These are just a few examples of how Qi and Blood work together in the body according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s important to note that TCM is a holistic system of medicine, which means that it takes into account the interconnectedness of all aspects of the body and mind when diagnosing and treating health conditions.
What is Sjögren’s syndrome and how can TCM help?

15 Feb 2024

By: Lee Hui Min

Blog, Acupuncture, Article, Autoimmune Disease, Fertility, Physician Lee 李医师, TCM Herbs

What is Sjögren's syndrome? Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by inflammation that primarily affects the glands responsible for producing tears and saliva. This inflammation leads to the hallmark symptoms of the condition, which include dry eyes and dry mouth. However, Sjögren’s syndrome can also affect other parts of the body, leading to a variety of symptoms beyond dryness, such as joint pain, fatigue, and organ involvement.The exact cause of Sjögren’s syndrome is not fully understood, but it is believed to involve a combination of genetic, environmental, and hormonal factors. The immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s own moisture-producing glands, leading to their dysfunction and the resulting dryness. How is Sjögren’s syndrome diagnosed and treated? Diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome involves a combination of medical history, physical examination, and various tests, including blood tests, eye tests, and salivary gland tests. While there is no cure for Sjögren’s syndrome, treatment focuses on managing symptoms and preventing complications. This may involve the use of artificial tears and saliva substitutes to alleviate dryness, as well as medications to reduce inflammation and manage other symptoms. It’s important to note that diagnosis of Sjögren’s syndrome can be challenging due to its varied symptoms and overlap with other autoimmune conditions. A comprehensive evaluation by healthcare professionals familiar with the condition is essential for an accurate diagnosis. Treatment for Sjögren’s syndrome focuses on managing symptoms, preventing complications, and improving quality of life. Since Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disorder, there is currently no cure, but various treatment options are available to alleviate symptoms. Treatment plans are often individualized based on the specific symptoms and needs of each patient. Some common approaches to managing Sjögren’s syndrome includes the use of Artificial Tears and Eye Lubricants, Saliva Substitutes and Prescription Medications It’s essential for individuals with Sjögren’s syndrome to work closely with healthcare providers, including rheumatologists, ophthalmologists, dentists, and other specialists, to develop a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to their needs. Additionally, lifestyle modifications such as staying hydrated, avoiding irritants, and protecting the eyes from dry environments can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. How can TCM help with the management of Sjögren’s syndrome? Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a unique perspective on health and illness, including autoimmune conditions like Sjögren’s syndrome. In TCM theory, Sjögren’s syndrome would likely be viewed as a manifestation of underlying imbalances in the body’s Qi (vital energy), Yin and Yang energies, and organ systems. Here’s a brief overview of how TCM might approach Sjögren’s syndrome:Imbalance of Yin and Yang: TCM considers health to be a state of balance between Yin and Yang energies. Sjögren’s syndrome, with its symptoms of dryness, might be seen as an excess of Yang energy leading to the depletion of Yin fluids in the body. Treatment would focus on nourishing Yin to restore balance.Deficiency of Body Fluids: Dryness is a key characteristic of Sjögren’s syndrome, indicating a deficiency of body fluids. TCM views body fluids as essential for maintaining health and lubricating the body’s tissues. Treatment would aim to tonify the body’s Yin and fluids through herbal medicine, acupuncture, and dietary modifications.Kidney and Liver Imbalances: In TCM, the Kidney and Liver organ systems are often implicated in conditions involving dryness and autoimmune disorders. Kidney Yin deficiency and Liver Qi stagnation are common patterns seen in Sjögren’s syndrome. Treatment would involve nourishing Kidney Yin and regulating Liver Qi circulation to address these imbalances.Heat and Inflammation: TCM recognizes the presence of heat and inflammation in autoimmune conditions. Sjögren’s syndrome may be associated with internal heat patterns, which can exacerbate dryness and inflammation. Herbal formulas and acupuncture points aimed at clearing heat and dampness may be used to alleviate symptoms.Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine: Acupuncture and herbal medicine are integral components of TCM treatment. Acupuncture can help regulate the flow of Qi and nourish Yin, while specific herbal formulas may be prescribed to address underlying imbalances and alleviate symptoms associated with Sjögren’s syndrome.Dietary Recommendations: TCM emphasizes the importance of diet in maintaining health and treating illness. Foods that nourish Yin and fluids, such as soups, stews, and hydrating fruits and vegetables, may be recommended. Avoiding spicy, heating foods and excessive caffeine intake, which can exacerbate dryness and inflammation, may also be advised.It’s important to note that TCM treatment is highly individualized, and practitioners would assess each patient’s unique pattern of disharmony before prescribing specific treatments. Additionally, TCM is often used as complementary therapy alongside conventional medical treatments for conditions like Sjögren’s syndrome. Patients interested in exploring TCM should consult with a qualified TCM practitioner for a personalized assessment and treatment plan.
What is an Auto Immune Thyroid Disease (AITD) and how can TCM help?

15 Feb 2024

By: Lee Hui Min

Blog, Acupuncture, Article, Autoimmune Disease, Fertility, Physician Lee 李医师, TCM Herbs

What is an Auto Immune Thyroid Disease (AITD)? Autoimmune thyroid disease, also known as autoimmune thyroiditis or autoimmune thyroid disorder, refers to a group of conditions in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, leading to inflammation and potentially affecting its function. The two main types of autoimmune thyroid disease are:Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: This is the most common form of autoimmune thyroid disease. In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the immune system produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland, leading to chronic inflammation and eventual destruction of thyroid tissue. As a result, the thyroid gland becomes unable to produce enough thyroid hormones, leading to hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).Graves’ disease: In Graves’ disease, the immune system produces antibodies that stimulate the thyroid gland to produce excessive amounts of thyroid hormones. This leads to hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and can cause symptoms such as weight loss, rapid heartbeat, tremors, and anxiety.Autoimmune thyroid disease can have various symptoms depending on whether it causes hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Treatment typically involves managing the symptoms and may include medications to regulate thyroid hormone levels, such as thyroid hormone replacement therapy for hypothyroidism or medications to reduce thyroid hormone production for hyperthyroidism. In some cases, surgery or radioactive iodine therapy may be recommended to treat severe cases of hyperthyroidism. AITD and Fertility Autoimmune thyroid disease, particularly when it leads to thyroid dysfunction such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can potentially affect fertility in both men and women. In women, hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can disrupt ovulation and menstrual cycles, leading to irregular or absent periods (amenorrhea) and thus affecting fertility. Thyroid hormones play a crucial role in regulating the menstrual cycle, and low levels or high levels of thyroid hormones can interfere with normal ovulation. In men, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can affect sperm production and quality, leading to reduced fertility. Autoimmune thyroid disease itself, regardless of thyroid hormone levels, has been associated with an increased risk of fertility issues. Autoimmune disorders can cause inflammation and immune system dysfunction, which may affect reproductive organs and processes. How is AITD managed? Autoimmune thyroid disease, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease, is typically managed through a combination of western medication, lifestyle modifications, and, in some cases, surgical interventions or radioactive iodine therapy. Treatment aims to alleviate symptoms, regulate thyroid hormone levels, and minimize autoimmune-related inflammation. The specific approach to treatment depends on the type and severity of the autoimmune thyroid disease. A balanced diet rich in nutrients, including iodine and selenium, is important for thyroid health. Some individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease may benefit from dietary modifications, such as avoiding excessive iodine intake or following a gluten-free diet if they have coexisting autoimmune conditions like celiac disease. Regular exercise and stress management techniques can help support overall health and may positively impact thyroid function. Individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease require regular monitoring of thyroid hormone levels and thyroid antibodies to assess treatment response and adjust medication dosages as needed. Follow-up appointments with healthcare providers, including endocrinologists, are essential for ongoing management and optimization of treatment strategies. What is TCM perspective on AITD? Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a unique perspective on autoimmune thyroid disease, viewing it as a manifestation of imbalances within the body’s energy systems rather than solely as a malfunction of the thyroid gland itself. In TCM theory, autoimmune thyroid disease is often associated with patterns of disharmony involving multiple organ systems and energetic imbalances. Here are some key aspects of the TCM perspective on autoimmune thyroid disease:Energetic Imbalances: TCM views autoimmune thyroid disease as a result of disruptions in the flow of Qi (vital energy) and Blood, as well as imbalances between Yin and Yang energies within the body. These imbalances can affect the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and contribute to the development of autoimmune conditions.Organ Systems Involved: According to TCM, the health of the thyroid gland is closely connected to the functioning of other organ systems, including the Spleen, Kidney, Liver, and Heart. Imbalances in these organ systems can contribute to the development or exacerbation of autoimmune thyroid disease.Patterns of Disharmony: TCM practitioners diagnose autoimmune thyroid disease based on patterns of disharmony, which may include:Spleen Qi Deficiency: Weakness or dysfunction of the Spleen, which may lead to poor digestion, fatigue, and accumulation of Dampness in the body.Kidney Yin Deficiency: Insufficiency of Kidney Yin, which may manifest as heat symptoms, night sweats, and dryness in the body.Liver Qi Stagnation: Impaired flow of Liver Qi, which can result in emotional imbalances, stress, and stagnant energy in the body.Heart and Kidney Yang Deficiency: Weakness or depletion of Heart and Kidney Yang energies, leading to cold intolerance, fatigue, and fluid retention. How can TCM help manage AITD? The management of autoimmune thyroid disease through TCM aims to rebalance the body’s energies and address the underlying patterns of disharmony. Treatment modalities may include:Acupuncture: Acupuncture points are selected to stimulate Qi flow and promote balance within the body’s energy systems.Herbal Medicine: Chinese herbal formulas are prescribed to tonify deficient energies, clear heat, resolve stagnation, and harmonize Yin and Yang.Dietary Therapy: Recommendations for dietary modifications may be provided to support digestion, nourish Yin, and avoid foods that exacerbate Dampness or heat.Lifestyle Recommendations: TCM often emphasizes lifestyle factors such as stress management, adequate rest, and regular exercise to support overall health and balance.Individualized Treatment: TCM treatment is highly individualized, with practitioners tailoring therapy to address each patient’s unique pattern of disharmony and constitution. Conclusion It’s important to note that while TCM can offer complementary approaches to managing autoimmune thyroid disease, it should not replace conventional medical care. Individuals with autoimmune thyroid disease should work with qualified healthcare providers, including TCM practitioners and conventional medical doctors, to develop comprehensive treatment plans that address their specific needs.