- What is Hashimoto's thyroiditis
- What is an autoimmune disease?
- What are the symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis?
- Does this disease run in families?
- How can I know for sure if I have this disease?
- What is the treatment for this disease?
- What would happen without medicine to make sure my thyroid works?
- What happens if I have this disease and get pregnant?
What is Hashimoto's thyroiditis
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is a type of autoimmune thyroid disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland. The thyroid helps set the rate of metabolism, which is the rate at which the body uses energy. 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.
What is an autoimmune disease?
An autoimmune disease occurs when the body's immune system becomes misdirected and attacks the organs, cells or tissues that it was designed to protect. About 75% of autoimmune diseases occur in women, most often during their childbearing years.
What are the symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis?
Some patients with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis may have no symptoms. However, the common symptoms are fatigue, depression, sensitivity to cold, weight gain, forgetfulness, muscle weakness, puffy face, dry skin and hair, constipation, muscle cramps, and increased menstrual flow. Some patients have major swelling of the thyroid gland in the front of the neck, called goiter.
Does this disease run in families?
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.
How can I know for sure if I have this disease?
Your doctor will perform a simple blood test that will be able to tell if your body has the right amount of thyroid hormones. This test measures the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) to find out if the levels are in the normal range. The range is set by your doctor and should be discussed with you. Work with your doctor to figure out what level is right for you. There are other available tests that your doctor may choose to do if need be, such as a blood test to measure the level of "active thyroid hormone" or Free T4 and a scan (picture) to look at the thyroid.
What is the treatment for this disease?
Hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is treated with thyroid hormone replacement. A small pill taken once a day should be able to keep the thyroid hormone levels normal. This medicine will, in most cases, need to be taken for the rest of the patient's life. When trying to figure out the amount of hormone you need, you may have to return to your doctor several times for blood tests to guide adjustments in the medicine dose. It is important that the dose be right for you. A yearly visit to your doctor will help keep your levels normal and help you stay healthy overall. Be aware of the symptoms. If you note any changes or the return of symptoms, return to your doctor to see if you need to have your medicine dosage adjusted.
What would happen without medication to regulate my thyroid function?
If left untreated, hyporthyroidism can cause further problems, including changes in menstrual cycles, prevention of ovulation, and an increased risk of miscarriage. Symptoms such as fatigue, depression and constipation, may progress and there can be other serious consequences, including heart failure. It is also important to know that too much thyroid replacement hormone can mimic the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. This is a condition that happens when there is too much thyroid hormone. These symptoms include insomnia, irritability, weight loss without dieting, heat sensitivity, increased perspiration, thinning of your skin, fine or brittle hair, muscular weakness, eye changes, lighter menstrual flow, rapid heart beat and shaky hands.
What would happen without medication to regulate my thyroid function?
It is important to get checked out by your doctor more often if you are pregnant. Inadequately treated thyroid problems can affect a growing baby, and the thyroid replacement needs of pregnant women often change. A doctor can help you figure out your changing medicine needs.
SOURCE: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Related Articles
Boost Digestive HealthUpset stomach? Some foods may be the culprits, and bad habits may be to blame. Treat your body right with these simple nutrition tips on how to deal with with diarrhea, gas, reflux, and more digestive ailments.
Cholesterol SlideshowDo you know the different cholesterol levels and what they mean? Learn the alphabet soup of cholesterol testing: LDL, HDL, good, bad, and triglycerides. Pictures show tests, treatments, and critical foods from eggs to avocados.
Constipation: Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid QuizTake this quiz to find out what foods to eat, and what foods to avoid to prevent or relieve constipation.
CT Scan vs. MRI
CT scan (computerized tomography) is a procedure that uses X-rays to scan and take images of cross-sections of parts of the body. CT scan can help diagnose broken bones, tumors or lesions in areas of the body, blood clots in the brain, legs, and lung, and lung infections or diseases like pneumonia or emphysema.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is a procedure that uses strong magnetic fields and radiofrequency energy to make images of parts of the body, particularly, the organs and soft tissues like tendons and cartilage.
Both CT and MRI are painless, however, MRI can be more bothersome to some individuals who are claustrophobic, or suffer from anxiety or panic disorders due to the enclosed space and noise the machine makes.
MRI costs more than CT, while CT is a quicker and more comfortable test for the patient.
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.
Diabetes QuizTake the Diabetes Quiz and learn the causes, signs, symptoms, and types of this growing epidemic. What does diabetes have to do with obesity and diet? Learn about life as a diabetic.
Diabetes Symptoms in MenDiabetes mellitus is a disease in which a person's blood sugar (blood glucose) is either too high (hyperglycemia) or too low (hypoglycemia) due to problems with insulin regulation in the body. There are two main types of diabetes mellitus, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs during childhood, while type 2 diabetes usually occurs during adulthood, however, rates of both types of diabetes in children, adolescents, and teens is increasing. More men than women have diabetes in the US, and the disease can affect men differently than women.
Warning symptoms of diabetes that men have and women do not include low testosterone (low-t), sexual problems, impotence (erectile dysfunction), decreased interest in sex, and retrograde ejaculation.
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes symptoms and signs that are the same in men and women include skin infections, numbness or tingling in the feet or hands, nausea, excessive thirst or hunger, fatigue, irritability, blurred vision, weight gain, weight loss, urinary tract infections (URIs), and kidney problems.
Treatment for type 1 diabetes is insulin, and treatment for type 2 diabetes are lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet, getting exercise daily, and if necessary, diabetes medications.
Hair Loss (Alopecia)There are many causes of scalp hair loss. This featured article covers the common ones such as patchy hair loss (alopecia areata, trichotillomania, and tinea capitis), telogen effluvium, and androgenetic alopecia (male-pattern baldness, female-pattern baldness).
Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased heart rate, weight loss, heart palpitations, frequent bowel movements, depression, fatigue, fine or brittle hair, sleep problems, thinning skin, and irregular vaginal bleeding.
Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Many other health problems or taking excess thyroid hormone medication can cause an overactive thyroid gland. Treatment for the condition is with medication, radioactive iodine, thyroid surgery (rarely), or reducing the dose of thyroid hormone. No diet has been shown to treat hyperthyroidism or its symptoms and signs.
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scan)MRI (or magnetic resonance imaging) scan is a radiology technique which uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer to produce images of body structures. MRI scanning is painless and does not involve X-ray radiation. Patients with heart pacemakers, metal implants, or metal chips or clips in or around the eyes cannot be scanned with MRI because of the effect of the magnet.
Pain QuizIs pain all in the brain? Take the Pain Quiz to learn everything you've ever wanted to know about the unpleasant sensation we call pain.
Thyroid Blood Tests
Thyroid blood tests determine the adequacy of the levels of thyroid hormones in in a patient. The blood tests can determine if the thyroid gland's hormone production is normal, overactive, or underactive. The level of thyroid hormones may help to diagnose hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. The test may also point to other diseases of conditions of the thyroid gland.
Thyroid Disorders Symptoms and SignsThyroid diseases and disorders are caused because the body either makes too much or too little thyroid hormones, which are necessary for vital functions of the body.
Thyroid disease and disorder symptoms and signs depend on the type of the thyroid problem. Examples include heat or cold intolerance, sweating, weight loss or gain, palpitations, fatigue, dry skin, constipation, brittle hair, joint aches and pains, heart palpitations, edema, feeling bloated, puffiness in the face, reduced menstrual flow, changes in the frequency of bowel movements and habits, high cholesterol, hoarseness, brittle hair, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, a visible lump or swelling in the neck, tremors, memory problems, depression, nervousness, agitation, irritability, or poor concentration.
Thyroid problems are more common in women.
Thyroid Peroxidase TestThe thyroid peroxidase test measures the level of an antibody that is directed against thyroid peroxidase (TPO). A presence of TPOAb in the blood reflects a prior attack by the body's immune system on thyroid tissue. A positive thyroid peroxidase test may signal chronic thyroiditis. Other autoimmune disorders, however, may have a positive TPOAb test.
Illustrations of ThyroidThe thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just below the Adams apple. See a picture of the Thyroid and learn more about the health topic.
Your Thyroid: Common Thyroid Problems and Diseases ExplainedLearn about thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer, and more. Discover symptoms and treatments for various thyroid problems.
Type 1 DiabetesWhat is type 1 diabetes? Is there a cure for type 1 diabetes? Learn about type 1 diabetes symptoms, warning signs, causes, and treatments.
What Diseases Does an Endocrinologist Treat?Hormones are secreted by the endocrine glands of the body. Different hormones have different actions. Each hormone acts on a specific body part. An endocrinologist is a specialist doctor who treats imbalances of hormones in the endocrine system.