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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Information

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland. It is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system inappropriately attacks your thyroid gland, causing damage to your thyroid cells and upsetting the balance of chemical reactions in your body. In many cases, Hashimoto's thyroiditis usually results in hypothyroidism, although in its acute phase, it can cause a transient thyrotoxic state. Hashimoto's stops the gland from making enough thyroid hormones for the body to work the way it should. It is the most common thyroid disease in the U.S. The thyroid helps set the rate of metabolism - the rate at which the body uses energy. Patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis are usually, young, middle-aged or older women. Hashimoto's prevents the gland from producing enough thyroid hormones for the body to work correctly. The disease is named after its discoverer, Hakaru Hashimoto. Usually painless, diffuse and gradual enlargement of the thyroid gland, which can be notice as enlargement of neck. Rarely, it can be accompanied with shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing due to the pressure of the growing goiter. The cause of Hashimoto thyroiditis is unknown.

The diagnosis of Hashimoto's thyroiditis is confirmed by finding high levels of antibodies in the blood. These work against the patient's own thyroid proteins. Hashimoto's typically involves a slow but steady destruction of the gland that eventually results in the thyroid's inability to produce sufficient thyroid hormone -- the condition known as hypothyroidism. There is some evidence that Hashimoto's Thyroiditis can have a hereditary link. If autoimmune diseases in general run in your family, you are at a higher risk of developing one yourself. The disease causes inflammation of your thyroid gland (thyroiditis), which may impair the ability of your thyroid to produce hormones, leading to underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Some patients with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis may have no symptoms. Some patients have major swelling of the thyroid gland in the front of the neck, called goiter. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is associated with other conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, pernicious anemia, addison's disease, and premature menopause. Patients with Hashimoto's disease may have normal blood tests, low body temperatures, and classic symptoms of low thyroid function. Blood tests of thyroid function are used to detect Hashimoto's disease. Treatment with synthetic thyroid hormone replacement medication usually is simple and effective. Natural treatment options also exist.

Causes of Hashimoto's thyroiditis

The common causes and risk factor's of Hashimoto's thyroiditis include the following:

  • The exect cause of Hashimoto thyroiditis is unknown.
  • A family history of thyroid disorders.
  • A virus or bacteria.
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis is seen more frequently in people taking extra iodine in their diets.
  • A combination of factors including heredity, sex and age may determine your likelihood of developing the disorder.

Symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Some sign and symptoms related to Hashimoto's thyroiditis are as follows:

  • Goiter (enlarged thyroid gland which may cause a bulge in the neck).
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Lump at front of neck.
  • Weight gain.
  • Protruding eyes.
  • Hoarse voice.
  • An elevated blood cholesterol level.
  • In some cases, the thyroid gland may actually shrink.

Treatment of Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Here is list of the methods for treating Hashimoto's thyroiditis:

  • Hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is treated with thyroid hormone replacement.
  • If the patient had a temporary phase of Hashitoxicosis (Hashimoto's + toxic + condition), a beta-blocker and/or antithyroid medication, such as carbimazole, may be given for a short time.
  • Hormone replacement therapy usually alleviates the goiter condition. However, if goiter does not improve, surgery may be required.
  • If the gland becomes uncomfortably painful, a short course of corticosteroids may be used in subacute viral thyroiditis.


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