A new study shows more than 40 percent of people diagnosed with depression also suffer from autoimmune thyroiditis, or AIT. The same is true for 30 percent of people diagnosed with anxiety.

AIT means the immune system is creating antibodies that mistakenly attack the thyroid, leading to chronic inflammation. Then your thyroid, which makes hormones that affect the function of just about every organ in your body, doesn’t work quite right. You feel exhaustion, unrest, and tension.

AIT affects about 10 percent of the population. If you have it, you’re 3.5 times as likely to suffer from depression and  2.3 times as likely to suffer from anxiety.

The disorder often goes undiagnosed because symptoms are attributed to menopause (women aged 30 to 50 are the most common sufferers) or to depression and anxiety.

But if your provider knows you suffer from AIT, you can receive more effective treatment. Thyroid medication can be extremely helpful, and you can choose antidepressants that are less likely to cause weight gain. You should also know how your antidepressant effects selenium levels, which can help with inflammation.

So if you suffer from depression and/or anxiety, make sure you’re having your thyroid tested — both the TSH levels and the antibodies. Knowing if you have an issue there can lead to better treatment.

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