Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, also known as Hashimoto’s disease, gets its name from the Japanese doctor who first described it: Hakaru Hashimoto. It is an autoimmune condition, meaning that the body creates defenses against its tissues and damages them. In this case, it affects the thyroid gland. In this way, it stops producing enough thyroid hormones and causes hypothyroidism.
Anyone can suffer from this disease, but it is more common in middle-aged women or people with thyroid problems. It can take months or even years to manifest itself, and symptoms will vary from person to person. This FastlyHealarticle will discuss Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: causes, symptoms, and treatment.
Table of Contents
Hashimoto’s disease: causes
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease. The immune system is in charge of protecting the body from harmful external factors. However, when there is an autoimmune disease, instead of saving it from external factors, it associates some tissue or organ of the body as harmful and attacks it. In this case, the thyroid gland is the one that is affected.
The thyroid is an endocrine gland located in the neck area just above the windpipe. Its function is to produce, store and release thyroid hormones into the blood. It participates in producing hormones such as thyroxine and triiodothyronine, hormones that affect the growth and functioning of other body systems. When a person has too much thyroid, hyperthyroidism occurs. However, hypothyroidism occurs when there is a deficiency, which happens in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The shortage of thyroid hormones will mean that the body does not produce enough proteins, and the cells do not have enough oxygen.
On many occasions, it has been said that viruses or bacteria could trigger this disease; however, others believe that it is a gene problem. It is rarely caused by an endocrine problem caused by the immune system. Type 1 diabetes can occur along with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis on many occasions.
The causes that can cause it are:
- Hormones: since the disease affects women more likely than men, it could be said that hormones play a fundamental role.
- Genetic factors: if the family has an autoimmune disease or thyroid problems, the children are more likely to suffer from Hashimoto’s disease.
- Excess iodine: a diet rich in iodine or some medications that contain amounts of this element could favor the development of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- A malfunction of the adrenal glands.
- An underactive parathyroid gland.
- Excessive radiation or continuous can cause disease, such as radiation therapy for leukemia.
Autoimmune thyroiditis: symptoms
Hashimoto’s disease is not noticeable out of the box and has a prolonged onset. It can take months or even years for it to be detected. Depending on the person, the symptoms will be one or more or less aggravated. These may include:
- Enlargement of the goiter or thyroid. This will show up on a thicker neck.
- Swallowing with difficulty
- Weight gain
- Slight weight gain
- Dry skin and hair loss
- Irregular and abundant menstruation. It can cause infertility or difficulty in getting pregnant.
- Difficult to focus
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: treatment
A tissue study and a histological examination are carried out to diagnose Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. However, it may be accompanied by other tests such as a TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test. When there is hypothyroidism, this hormone usually has higher levels than average. Antibody tests or a thyroid ultrasound may also be done.
Medication treatment is usually used to treat this disease, and it responds pretty well. Used drugs that mimic the hormone TSH artificially to return to normal. However, it is an almost life-long treatment. The doses of the medications will depend on the person’s age, weight, health problems, whether they are taking other drugs, or the severity of the thyroiditis.
In cases of enlarged goiter, a surgery called thyroidectomy is used, which is the removal of the thyroid gland either totally or partially.
If left untreated, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can lead to other, more severe illnesses. In addition, other problems such as sterility, natural abortion, or malformations in the fetus may appear if you are pregnant or have an increase in cholesterol. Myxedema, edema in the tissues, or even coma could occur in extreme cases.
This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: causes, symptoms, and treatment, we recommend entering our Endocrine System category.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.