Robert Ferry Jr., MD, is a U.S. board-certified Pediatric Endocrinologist. After taking his baccalaureate degree from Yale College, receiving his doctoral degree and residency training in pediatrics at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA), he completed fellowship training in pediatric endocrinology at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
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.
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
Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD on 6/27/2013
The thyroid is a gland that makes and stores essential
hormones that help
regulate the heart rate, blood pressure, body
temperature, and the rate of chemical reactions (metabolism) in the body. It is