Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is also known as Hashimoto’s disease. It is the first auto immune disease discovered. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis affects the thyroid gland and its production of the thyroid hormone.
The thyroid gland is in control of protein production, regulation of the metabolism, and distribution of energy use for various processes in the body. This disease affects the body’s normal functions related to the tasks of the thyroid gland.
People with Hashimoto’s have inflamed thyroid glands. Being an auto immune disease, the body attacks the gland and damages the said gland. Two types of antibodies are responsible for inflaming the thyroid gland; Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO) and Thyroglobulin Antibodies. They attack the thyroid and damage its epithelial cells. A blood test can determine whether a person has Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
- Weight gain due to imbalance of metabolism
- Intolerance to the cold
- Dry hair that could eventually lead to hair falling out
- Lack of focus and energy
- Swelling of the legs
Common Causes for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
When the thyroid gland is not in its normal condition, production of the thyroid hormone is affected. The thyroid can either produce too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroiditis) or be under active and not produce the enough hormones needed (hypothyroidism).
Hypothyroidism is most commonly caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Thus, the symptoms of an individual with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are very similar to those of one with hypothyroidism. Sometimes, Hashimoto’s disease is misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, or even depression.
Genetically, Hashimoto’s can be present and common among family members. This auto immune disease is related to the HLA-DR5 gene and the CTLA-4 gene. There are also environmental factors that can lead to Hashimoto’s disease.
Too much iodine intake and exposure to tobacco or smoke from cigarettes can lead to this as well. People with a family history of Hashimoto’s should avoid such environmental factors.
What Can Be Done?
Individuals with Hashimoto’s can experience bursts of hypothyroidism. Consistently getting checked by a doctor for the rate of thyroid hormones produced or needed is advised. In some severe cases where the thyroid gland is too damaged or inflamed, thyroid hormone replacement may be needed. This will balance the thyroid hormones in the body. Undergoing thyroid hormone therapy is one of the leading solutions for thyroid problems.
Leaving the condition untreated may lead to body malfunctions like muscle failure which can lead to heart failure. In children, growth may slow down because of the thyroid gland’s abnormal condition that affects the processes needed for proper maturation.