Definition

What is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a condition in which your immune system attacks your own thyroid, a small gland at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple. The thyroid gland is a part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s functions. Inflammation from Hashimoto’s disease, is also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, often leads to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).

How common is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is seven times more likely to occur in women than men, especially women who have been pregnant.

However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

It is believed that almost all people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis do not notice their signs or symptoms at first, or they may just notice a swelling at the front of their throat (goiter). Hashimoto’s disease typically progresses not quickly over years and causes chronic thyroid damage, leading to a drop in thyroid hormone levels in your blood. The signs and symptoms are mainly those of an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Some common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Pale, dry skin
  • A puffy face
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Enlargement of the tongue
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
  • Depression
  • Memory lapses

When should I see my doctor?

Early diagnosis and treatment can stop Hashimoto’s thyroiditis from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system creates antibodies that damage the thyroid gland. Doctors don’t know what exactly causes your immune system to attack your thyroid gland. However, some scientists suppose a virus or bacterium might trigger the response, while others think a genetic flaw may be involved.

A combination of factors — including heredity, sex and age — may determine your likelihood of developing the disorder.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

These some popular risk factors may contribute to your risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease:

  • Sex: Women are much more likely to get Hashimoto’s disease than men.
  • Age: Hashimoto’s disease can occur at any age but more commonly occurs during middle age.
  • Heredity: You’re at higher risk for Hashimoto’s disease if others in your family have thyroid or other autoimmune diseases.
  • Other autoimmune diseases: Having another autoimmune disease — such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes or lupus — increases your risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease.
  • Radiation exposure: People exposed to excessive levels of environmental radiation are more prone to Hashimoto’s disease.

Diagnosis & Treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

 

How is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis diagnosed?

Your doctor may suspect this condition if you experience some signs and symptoms above of an underactive thyroid. If so, a blood test will be determined to check your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels in your blood. This common test is one of the most useful ways to screen for Hashimoto’s. TSH is a hormone made when thyroid activity is low. Your doctor may also use blood tests to check your levels of:

  • Thyroid hormone
  • Antibodies
  • Cholesterol

And these tests, of course, can help confirm your diagnosis

How is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis treated?         

Not all people with Hashimoto’s require treatment. If your thyroid is still functioning well and normally, you will just be monitored for changes by your doctors.

In case your thyroid is not producing enough hormones, you may need to use some medications. Levothyroxine is a synthetic hormone that replaces the missing thyroid hormone, thyroxine. It has virtually no side effects. If you need this drug, you will be on it for the rest of your life.

Regular use of levothyroxine can return your hormone levels in your blood to normal. When this occurs, your signs and symptoms will usually disappear. However, you will probably need some regular tests to monitor your hormone levels. This allows your doctor to adjust your dose as necessary.

Some supplements and medications are believed that can affect your body’s ability to absorb levothyroxine. It is important to talk to your doctor about any medications that you are taking. Some products that are known to cause problems include:

  • Aluminum hydroxide, commonly found in antacids
  • Iron supplements
  • Calcium supplements
  • Questran, a cholesterol drug
  • Kayexalate, a drug for people with high blood potassium
  • Certain foods can also affect absorption of this drug. Let your doctor know if you have a diet that’s high in fiber or soy. These can affect your hormone levels.

Lifestyle changes & Home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

It is considered that there are some home remedies to prevent this condition.

  • Removing immune reacting foods: gluten, food sensitivities, etc.
  • Consuming gut healing foods
  • Supplementing with helpful nutrients, herbs and probiotics
  • Boosting the body’s ability to detox
  • Reducing and managing stress long-term

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: March 9, 2017 | Last Modified: March 9, 2017

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