Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Hashimoto thyroiditis, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis and Hashimoto’s disease, is an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid gland is gradually destroyed. It was first discovered by Japanese physician Hakaru Hashimoto in 1912. In 1957 it was recognized as an autoimmune disorder.

Cause

The thyroid is butterfly-shaped gland attached to the front of the windpipe. It’s a part of the endocrine system, which is responsible for producing, storing and using hormones. The thyroid is responsible for regulating metabolism, growth, temperature and energy, so it is very important to keep thyroid hormones in balance.

Hashimoto’s disease occurs when white blood cells attack the thyroid and slow it down (hence called autoimmune disease).

Any auto immune condition is multifactorial. The same holds good in this case as well. Genetics, our diet, environmental influences, stress, our hormone levels and immunological factors are all factors contributing to Hashimoto’sThyroiditis.

Symptoms

Fatigue and sluggishness

Increased sensitivity to cold

Constipation

Pale, dry skin

A puffy face

Hoarse voice

Unexplained weight gain

Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness

Pain and stiffness in joints and swelling in knees or the small joints in hands and feet.

Muscle weakness especially in lower extremities

Excessive prolonged menstrual bleeding

Depression, mood swings etc.

Risk factors

Risk Factors include

having a previous autoimmune condition like arthritis

Smoking

Long term stress and trauma

Eating disorders etc.

Menopause can also trigger Hashimoto’s, which, second to pregnancy and postpartum, is the next largest shift of a woman’s equilibrium.

Treatment

Conventional treatment proposes taking medications. Sometimes surgery is needed if the disease progresses enough.