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Endocrine Diseases: NWHIC

Article title: Endocrine Diseases: NWHIC

Conditions: Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Graves' disease, Type I diabetes

Source: NWHIC


MAJOR AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES

ENDOCRINE DISEASES

HASHIMOTO'S THYROIDITIS
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a type of autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the thyroid, the gland that helps set the rate of metabolism. It attacks women 50 times more often than men.

  • Symptoms: Low levels of thyroid hormone cause mental and physical slowing, greater sensitivity to cold, weight gain, coarsening of the skin, and goiter (a swelling of the neck due to an enlarged thyroid gland).
  • Treatment: Thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
  • Prognosis: Most patients regain normal health with treatment.

GRAVES' DISEASE
Graves' disease is one of the most common autoimmune diseases, affecting 13 million people and targeting women seven times as often as men. Patients with Graves' disease produce an excessive amount of thyroid hormone.

  • Symptoms: Weight loss due to increased energy expenditure; increased appetite, heart rate, and blood pressure; tremors, nervousness and sweating; frequent bowel movements.
  • Treatment: Antithyroid drug therapy or removal of the thyroid gland surgically or by radioiodine.
  • Prognosis: If left untreated, Graves' disease can be fatal. In most cases, however, normal health can be restored.

INSULIN­DEPENDENT (TYPE I) DIABETES
Type I diabetes is caused by too little insulin production in the pancreas, and usually occurs in children and young adults, but it can occur at any age.

  • Symptoms: Increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, frequent infections.
  • Treatment: Monitoring of diet and insulin.
  • Prognosis: Diabetes is relatively easy to control with proper medical attention, and acute complications are increasingly rare. However, long-term complications such as disorders of the eye, kidney, circulatory system, and nerve fibers are common. If left untreated, diabetes can result in death.

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