Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

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Hashimoto's thyroiditis facts

  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism (having too low levels of thyroid hormones) in the United States. The condition was named after Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, the doctor who described it in 1912.
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis is caused by an autoimmune process that causes inflammation of the thyroid gland.
  • Symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis are those of hypothyroidism and include
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis is diagnosed by blood tests that measure thyroid gland function and blood tests that look for antibodies against proteins found in the thyroid gland.
  • The treatment for Hashimoto's thyroiditis is oral administration of thyroid hormones to maintain normal levels.
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition and cannot be prevented.
  • The prognosis for someone with Hashimoto's thyroiditis is excellent with proper treatment.

What is Hashimoto's thyroditis?

Hashimoto's thryoiditis is an autoimmune condition that is a common cause of hypothyroidism. In Hashimoto's thyroiditis, the body mounts an immune reaction against its own thyroid gland tissue, leading to inflammation of the gland (thyroiditis).

What causes Hashimoto's thyroiditis?

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a condition caused by inflammation of the thyroid gland. It is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body inappropriately attacks the thyroid gland - as if it was foreign tissue. The underlying cause of the autoimmune process remains unknown. Hashimoto's thyroiditis tends to occur in families. It can be associated with other autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes or celiac disease. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is 5 to 10 times more common in women than in men and most often starts in adulthood. Blood drawn from people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis typically reveals an increased number of antibodies against thyroid-specific proteins, including thyroperoxidase and thyroglobulin. T lymphocytes, a type of cell involved in the inflammation process, invade the thyroid gland cause silent, painless inflammation that destroys it; ultimately, the individual produces little or no thyroid hormone and becomes hypothyroid.

Illustration of the Thyroid Gland
Illustration of the Thyroid Gland
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/3/2015

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Hypothyroidism Symptoms

Hypothyroidism Symptoms

Hypothyroidism is most commonly a result of an autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism in adults are:

  • Tiredness and weakness; feeling "run down"
  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
  • Constipation
  • Cold intolerance
  • Sleepiness
  • Decreased libido
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Depression