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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: What it is and Why You Should Know About it!

B
Bajaj Finserv Health
December 17th, 2021
10 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can lead to hypothyroidism
  • Pre-existing autoimmune conditions can cause thyroiditis
  • Fatigue and weight gain are symptoms of Hashimoto disease

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease. It is a disorder where your immune system attacks your thyroid. This leads to inflammation of the thyroid, known as thyroiditis. This disease is named after a Japanese surgeon who discovered it in 1912. It is also known by other names such as hashimotos thyroiditis diseases, chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, and autoimmune thyroiditis [1].

This autoimmune thyroid disease can lead to hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid. The latter occurs where your thyroid gland produces insufficient hormones to meet your body’s needs [2]. In some cases, the thyroid gland gets inflamed so much that it develops a goiter [3]. Read on to learn more about the causes of hashimotos thyroiditis diseases, its symptoms, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis treatment.

Additional Read: Thyroid Antibodies: What are the Symptoms and How to Lower TPO Antibodies?

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Causes

Like other autoimmune diseases, this one is caused by problems in your immune system. But the exact reason for it is unknown. Some factors do make you prone to Hashimoto syndrome.

Age and Gender

People between the ages of 30 and 50 usually suffer from it. Women are at seven times greater risk of getting this disease than men.

hashimotos thyroiditis

Genes and Family History

If a family member has thyroid problems or other autoimmune diseases, you are more likely to get it.

Pre-Existing Autoimmune Diseases

You are at risk of it if you have pre-existing autoimmune conditions like:

  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Addison’s disease
  • Liver conditions

Having Excessive Iodine

Iodine is essential as it helps in the production of thyroid hormones. But too much iodine may lead to thyroid disease in certain people.

Exposure to Radiation

Nuclear radiation and other toxins can put you at risk of Hashimotos diseases. Cases of the disease have been reported in people exposed to radiation, including the atomic bombs in Japan.

Hashimoto Disease Symptoms

You may often not experience any symptoms of this disease. If you do, they may relate to its complications such as goiter and hypothyroidism. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Weight gain

  • Fatigue

  • Pale, puffy face

  • Dry skin

  • Constipation

  • Depression

  • Slow heart rate

  • Joint and muscle pain

  • Inability to feel warm

  • Slowed heart rate

  • Inability to tolerate cold

  • Problems with fertility

  • A feeling of fullness in the throat

  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing

  • Difficulty getting pregnant

  • Hair loss, dry, thinning, brittle hair

  • Heavy or irregular menstrual periods

hashimotos thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask for your medical history and perform a physical test. They will also examine your thyroid gland for any signs of swelling. If doctors suspect any abnormalities, they may ask you to get an ultrasound. Apart from your medical history, physical exam, and ultrasound, doctors may also order some blood tests. The three main blood tests that help diagnose this condition are:

  • TSH test

  • antithyroid antibodies test

  • free T4 test

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Treatment

Although there is no cure for it, thyroid hormone replacement therapy is quite effective. If you have thyroiditis, replacing hormones with medication can help. It helps regulate hormone levels and restore metabolism. Your doctor may prescribe a synthetic version of thyroxine (T4). Doctors usually prescribe an oral medication called levothyroxine. Generally prescribed as pills, this medicine can be now availed in the form of liquid and a soft gel capsule. These new versions may help Hashimoto’s patients with digestive problems.

Your doctor may tell you to take levothyroxine in the morning. Have it 30 to 60 minutes before your breakfast. The exact dosage prescribed to you depends on various factors. These include your age, weight, existing health problems, medications, and severity of hypothyroidism. Some foods and supplements can affect how your body absorbs levothyroxine. They include coffee and multivitamins. So, it is best to take this on an empty stomach in the morning.

Additional Read: What Increases Thyroid Levels? 6 Ways to Increase Thyroid Hormones Naturally

There is no proven way to prevent autoimmune disorders and inflammation that causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. But you can manage the condition with effective options. Seek medical help if you experience any symptoms. Book a consultation with a doctor on Bajaj Finserv Health to know more about hashimotos thyroiditis diseases. Here, you can also book lab tests including a thyroid antibodies test. So, make sure that you get medical advice and lab tests on time to prioritize your health.

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