The Dr. Hedberg Show
About This Show
The Dr. Hedberg Show covers a variety of health topics including thyroid disorders, autoimmune disease, fatigue, weight loss, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, hormone imbalances and digestive health.
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Epstein Barr Virus and Hashimoto’s Disease - The Dr. Hedberg Show
Epstein-Barr Virus or EBV is a herpes virus (Herpes 4) that is significantly connected to Hashimoto’s disease and many other autoimmune diseases. It is the most common infection I see in my patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
How do you get infected?
Epstein-Barr Virus is transmitted by saliva resulting in mononucleosis (“mono”) also known as “the kissing disease.” EBV can also be transmitted via semen during sexual intercourse, by blood or blood transfusion. Most people get infected when they are young after their first kiss or if they exposed to another infected person’s saliva on a shared drinking glass.
What are the symptoms of mono due to acute Epstein-Barr Virus infection?
Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
Enlarged liver and spleen
The above symptoms are the usual result of the initial infection which lasts about 2-4 weeks but sometimes they can go on for months. Once your immune system fights off the virus, it becomes inactive for life. Epstein-Barr Virus however can reactivate later in life resulting in autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, fatigue and many more illnesses. This is similar to the Chicken Pox virus that stays in your body for life but it can reactivate resulting in painful shingles.
Key point: Just because you never had mono, this doesn’t mean you can’t have the virus. Some people get infected with EBV and never develop symptoms.
You can infect another person no matter how old you are if the virus is reactivated in your body.
***Some people will have a “mono-like” illness and EBV antibodies are negative. This is due to another active infection including cytomegalovirus, toxoplasmosis, herpes 6, herpes 7, HIV or hepatitis B.
What health problems can Epstein-Barr Virus cause?
Many autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s disease, Lupus, Rheumatoid arthritis etc.
Weakened immune system making it more difficult to fight other infections
Facial nerve palsy (Bell’s palsy)
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Paralysis on one side of the body