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Hashimoto’s Disease

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that can cause underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism. It happens when your immune system produces antibodies that attack the cells in your thyroid as if they were germs, viruses, or other foreign substances. This results in a decline in hormone production, a condition called hypothyroidism.

  • Hashimoto’s disease is also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, autoimmune thyroiditis, or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis.
  • The thyroid gland makes thyroid hormones that control how your body uses energy. So, they affect nearly every organ in your body—even the way your heart beats.

What Happens in Hashimoto Thyroiditis?

In Hashimoto thyroiditis, the immune system produces antibodies that target and attack the thyroid gland. This can cause prolonged inflammation and damage. 

Over time, chronic inflammation might impair thyroid function, leading to underactive thyroid. An underactive thyroid can result in a variety of symptoms, including weight gain, cold intolerance, and fatigue.

Who is more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease?

Hashimoto’s disease is 4 to 10 times more common in women than men. Although the disease may occur in teens or young women, it more often develops in women ages 40 to 60. 

Your chance of developing this condition is higher if other family members have the condition.

You are more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease if you have other autoimmune disorders, including

  • celiac disease
  • lupus
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • type 1 diabetes

What are the complications of Hashimoto’s disease?

Many people with Hashimoto’s disease develop hypothyroidism. If left untreated, this can lead to several health problems, including

  • Goiter which can impair breathing and swallowing.
  • Heart problems include heart failure and heart enlargement.
  • Depression
  • Slowed brain function
  • Decreased sexual desire

What are the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease?

Some common symptoms of this condition include:

  • fatigue
  • weight gain
  • dry skin
  • trouble tolerating cold
  • joint and muscle pain
  • muscle weakness
  • constipation
  • dry skin or dry, thinning hair
  • irregular and heavy menstrual periods
  • slowed heart rate
  • hair loss
  • brittle nails
  • enlargement of the tongue
  • problem with memory

What causes Hashimoto’s disease?

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder. What causes the immune system to target thyroid cells is unclear. Several factors may play a role, including:

·      Genes

·      Stress

·      Infection

·      Environmental triggers

How is Hashimoto’s disease diagnosed?

To diagnose this condition, your healthcare provider will conduct a thorough examination. They will review your medical history if you’re experiencing symptoms. They’ll conduct blood tests, including:

  • TSH test: High levels indicate hypothyroidism.
  • T-4 tests: Low levels confirm thyroid issues.
  • Antibody tests: To check for thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies, which are often present in the blood.

How is Hashimoto’s disease treated?

Treatment for this condition depends on the extent of thyroid damage and whether hypothyroidism is present. If hypothyroidism is not present, your doctor may monitor your symptoms and thyroid hormone levels regularly.

The got- medication for this condition is levothyroxine. It’s identical to the natural thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4). It works by normalizing the hormone levels in the body. 

Can Hashimoto’s disease be prevented?

There is no known way to prevent Hashimoto’s disease. However, if you have a family history of thyroid disease or other autoimmune disorders, you should tell your doctor. Your doctor may recommend regular checkups to check your thyroid hormone levels.