Marla Ahlgrimm R.Ph.

Marla Ahlgrimm | Retired Pharmacist | Leading Expert in Women's Health

Marla Ahlgrimm Discusses Hashimoto’s Disease

Marla AhlgrimmHashimoto’s disease is a common and medically treatable condition most frequently diagnosed in women. In the following informational question and answer session, Marla Ahlgrimm explains Hashimoto’s, its potential consequences, and treatment options.

Q: What is Hashimoto’s Disease?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Hashimoto’s disease is an immune disorder that affects the thyroid gland. It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in North America. Hashimoto’s disease causes chronic inflammation that inhibits the endocrine system’s ability to produce hormones.

Q: Who is at risk?

Marla Ahlgrimm: While men can get Hashimoto’s disease, it affects mostly middle-aged women. A family history of autoimmune disorders and thyroid dysfunction puts an individual more at risk of Hashimoto’s. Other autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus also increase a person’s risk.

Q: How can medications lessen the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Treatment for Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism often begins with observation. Patients found with thyroid hormone deficiencies may benefit from hormone therapy. Thyroid hormone therapy, (levothyroxine and liothyronine) mimic the hormones produced naturally by the body and can alleviate fatigue, lower “bad” cholesterol levels, and reverse weight gain. Women who are prescribed thyroid homrone should avoid iron supplements, certain cholesterol medications, antacids, ulcer medications, and calcium supplements within four hours of each other.

Q: Are there other health issues that can arise if Hashimoto’s is left untreated?

Marla Ahlgrimm: People with hypothyroidism are often more at risk for heart disease than others. As well, Hashimoto’s can result in decreased sexual desire, depression, and mental health issues. Rarely, Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism can develop into myxedema, a potentially life threatening disease that requires immediate medical treatment. Myxedema’s symptoms include drowsiness, profound lethargy, cold intolerance, and unconsciousness. Those taking sedatives or under undue stress are at risk of a myxedema-induced coma. Women who become pregnant while suffering from untreated hypothyroidism put their babies at a higher risk of birth defects including intellectual and developmental delays.


Author: Marla Ahlgrimm

Pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm revolutionized the field of women’s health in the 1970s and continues to do so today. After introducing the term “premenstrual syndrome” to the American public in the late 1970s, Marla Ahlgrimm has continued to focus her pharmacy practice over the years to successfully address hormone concerns that affect women as they age. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Marla Ahlgrimm co-founded Madison Pharmacy Associates, and it was there she fine tuned individualized care protocols and prescription medication to optimize a woman’s hormonal health. One of the first hormone issues that Marla tackled was Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS. At that time, there were no diagnosis or treatment options to address the severe symptoms that many women were reporting. As a result of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s intense attention to women’s health, Madison Pharmacy Associates gained a national reputation as an innovative practice. Founded in 1982, Madison Pharmacy Associates was the first pharmacy to special in women’s health in the nation. Thanks to the expertise of Marla Ahlgrimm, Madison Pharmacy Associates became known for the management of PMS. Over the years, Madison Pharmacy Associates evolved with Marla Ahlgrimm’s careful guidance, providing the national PMS Access newsletter, as well as a toll-free line where patients could obtain referrals to physicians who had the expertise to help them manage their symptoms. Marla Ahlgrimm founded Women’s Health America, Inc. in 1993 to help women by providing individualized hormonal medications to address the complex health issues of women and also to provide practical, helpful women’s health information. Over the years, Marla Ahlgrimm’s vision has grown to include Women’s Health America, Madison Pharmacy Associates, PMS Access and Cyclin Pharmaceuticals. In addition to her accomplishments with these landmark organizations, Marla Ahlgrimm is an author, having published two watershed books, The HRT Solution and Self-Help for Premenstrual Syndrome. Marla Ahlgrimm has also been published in numerous national publications, including serving as a columnist for The American Journal of Natural Medicine. Today, the primary work of Marla Ahlgrimm centers on natural hormone therapy, an important area for the large number of women who are menopausal and postmenopausal. Marla Ahlgrimm ’s work is unique because of her focus on individualized, natural hormone therapy options. According to pharmacist, Marla Ahlgrimm, many health issues facing women today are related to hormone changes. Using an individualized approach to therapy, she reports that many women feel reenergized for the first time in years. In addition to recognition in publications and journals, Marla Ahlgrimm has been recognized with a number awards over the span of her career. Some of Marla Ahlgrimm ’s most notable awards have been the YWCA’s acknowledgment of Marla Ahlgrimm as one of its Women of Distinction and recognition by her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, as one of its Distinguished Alumni. Above all of the awards and honors, Marla Ahlgrimm finds that helping so many women is the greatest accomplishment of all. In fact, says Marla Ahlgrimm, she still works with some of her very first patients and their doctors. These women once sought the help of Marla Ahlgrimm for PMS, she says, and today she is helping them manage symptoms of menopause and the years that follow.

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