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Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

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: Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a type of autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the thyroid, the gland that helps set ... 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 ...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.

Medication ...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 aging, ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Treatments for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Related Patient Stories

Diagnostic Tests for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

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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...»

More information about causes of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis:

Disease Topics Related To Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis:

Less Common Symptoms of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

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Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease. more »

Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's. The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild symptoms in more »

Thyroid disorders greatly under-diagnosed: One study found that about 10% of people had undiagnosed thyroid disorders, mostly hyperthyroidism, but also hypothyroidism. The symptoms of thyroid disorders are often mild, more »

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Hospitals & Clinics: Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Research quality ratings and patient safety measures for medical facilities in specialties related to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis:

Choosing the Best Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, on hospital performance and surgical care quality:

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Rare Types

Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:

Latest Treatments for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Medical research articles related to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

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.

Research about Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Visit our research pages for current research about Hashimoto's Thyroiditis treatments.

Clinical Trials for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis include:

Statistics for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Broader Related Topics

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Message Boards

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User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

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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