Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Introduction
Hashimoto's disease is a common autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in the front part of the neck, and the hormone it produces is vital to normal metabolism.
In an autoimmune disorder like Hashimoto's disease, the body's immune system mistakenly perceives the thyroid gland as a foreign and possibly harmful element in the body and attacks it. This results in inflammation of thyroid tissue that eventually can destroy the function of the thyroid gland and lead to an underactive thyroid gland. This is called hypothyroidism. Hasimoto's disease is a common cause of hypothyroidism.
When Hashimoto's disease results in hypothyroidism, the thyroid does not produce enough thyroid hormone. A lack of thyroid hormone results in a slowing of the body's chemical processes and metabolism. Hashimoto's disease that results in hypothyroidism may also lead to serious, potentially life-threatening complications.
The symptoms of Hashimoto's disease can vary between individuals. Many people may have no symptoms at all. When there are symptoms of Hasimoto's disease, they are due to the develoment of hypothyroidism. Symptoms frequently include an enlarged thyroid, fatigue and weight gain. The most extreme form of hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto's disease is a life threatening complication called myxedema coma. Symptoms of myxedema coma include shock and unresponsiveness. For more details on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of Hashimoto's disease.
Hashimoto's disease is more common in women than in men. There may be a hereditary element in the develoment of Hashimoto's disease because it tends to run in families.
Making a diagnosis of Hashimoto's disease begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. The physician or health care provider may feel a larger than normal thyroid gland in the neck.
A blood test is performed to determine levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and the thyroid hormone thyroxine. High levels of TSH and low levels of thyroxine indicate that a thyroid gland is underactive, (hypothyroidism), which can be the result of Hashimoto's disease.
Other tests may be performed to check for potential complications of Hashimoto's disease and hypothyroidism, such as heart disease. These can include blood tests that can reveal hypercholesterolemia, increased liver enzymes, or anemia. A chest X-ray may be done to evaluate the size of the heart.
It is possible that a diagnosis of Hashimoto's disease can be missed or delayed because there often are no symptoms. In addition, early symptoms can be mild or assumed to be associated with other conditions, such as aging or stress. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of Hashimoto's disease.
Hashimoto's disease cannot be cured, and people with the disorder that leads to hypothyroidism have to take thyroid hormone replacement medication for the rest of their lives. However, this treatment is generally very effective in relieving symptoms. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of Hashimoto's disease. ...more »
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 ... more about Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Hashimoto thyroiditis is characterized by the destruction of thyroid cells by various cell- and antibody-mediated immune processes. Patients with Hashimoto thyroiditis have antibodies to various thyroid antigens, the most frequently detected of which include antithyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO), antithyroglobulin (anti-Tg), and, to a lesser extent, TSH receptor-blocking antibodies.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is available below.
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Symptoms
The types and severity of symptoms of Hashimoto's disease vary between individuals. Many people have no symptoms at all. If Hasimoto's disease leads to hypothyroidism, symptoms of an underactive thyroid may develop. At the onset of hypothyroidism, symptoms can be vague and develop slowly. They may not include weakness, weight gain, cold sensitivity, cold hands and feet, fatigue ...more symptoms »
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Treatments
There is no way to prevent Hashimoto's disease, and there is no cure. However, if Hashimoto's disease results in hypothyroidism, the low levels of thyroid hormone can be replaced to achieve normal levels in the body. To accomplish this, most people with hypothyroidism have to take the oral thyroid hormone replacement medication called levothyroxine for the rest of their lives.
...more treatments »
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Misdiagnosis
A diagnosis of Hashimoto's disease may be delayed or missed because many people have no symptoms. If Hashimoto's disease leads to hypothyroidism, symptoms can develop. However, early symptoms, such as fatigue, weight gain, muscle aches, and weakness, and dry thinning hear can be ambiguous and/or mild. These symptoms are similar to symptoms of other conditions, such as ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
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symptoms of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
Treatments for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
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Home Diagnostic Testing
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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Complications
Review possible medical complications related to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis:
Causes of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
- Family history of thyroid disorders is common, with HLA-DR5 gene most strongly implicated
- The incidence is increased in patients with chromosomal disorders, including Turner's syndrome, Down's syndrome and Klinefelter's syndrome
- more causes...»
Read more about causes of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
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Less Common Symptoms of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Undiagnosed Conditions
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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Research Doctors & Specialists
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Hospitals & Clinics: Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Rare Types
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latest treatments for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
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Prognosis for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
Prognosis for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis:
With early diagnosis, timely institution of levothyroxine replacement therapy, informed patient follow-up care, and attention to other attendant complications, the prognosis is excellent and patients lead a normal life.
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Research about Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
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Clinical Trials for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally
and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.
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Statistics for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
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Article Excerpts about Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
Endocrine Diseases: NWHIC (Excerpt)
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. (Source: excerpt from Endocrine Diseases: NWHIC)
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: NWHIC (Excerpt)
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 - the rate at which the body uses
energy. Hashimoto’s prevents the gland from producing enough thyroid
hormones for the body to work correctly. It is the most common form of
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). (Source: excerpt from Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: NWHIC)
Thyroid Disease: NWHIC (Excerpt)
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an
autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the thyroid and keeps it from
producing enough thyroid hormone. It is the most common form of
hypothyroidism. (Source: excerpt from Thyroid Disease: NWHIC)
Definitions of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis:
Progressive enlargement of the thyroid gland, often associated with hypothyroidism.
- (Source - Diseases Database)
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is listed as a "rare disease" by the Office of
Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health
(NIH). This means that Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, or a subtype of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis,
affects less than 200,000 people in the US population.
Source - National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Ophanet, a consortium of European partners,
currently defines a condition rare when it affects 1 person per 2,000.
They list Hashimoto's Thyroiditis as a "rare disease".
Source - Orphanet
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