21st September 2020

Let’s Talk About Hashimoto’s Disease

By Armela Patalud - Autoimmune Disease

 

Hashimoto’s Disease (a.k.a.Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis) is an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks the thyroid – the gland which produces the hormones that control metabolism.  The thyroid also controls our heart rate and how our body consumes calories from the food we eat.  People with Hashimoto’s Disease experience hypothyroidism – a condition where the thyroid does not produce enough hormones for the body’s needs.

What Causes of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

The exact cause of Hashimoto’s is difficult to pinpoint but some of the most common factors are:

  1. Hereditary genes.

People who have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis most often have family members who also have a thyroid disorder or other autoimmune diseases. 

  1. Hormones. 

The possibility of women developing Hashimoto’s is seven times higher more than men, thus sex hormones may play a role in getting this condition.  Women have high tendencies to develop thyroid problems after giving birth because of imbalanced hormones.  Although the condition can be cured, about 20% of these develop Hashimoto’s later on.

  1. Iodine. 

Studies suggest that too much iodine may trigger thyroid disorder especially in people who already have other underlying health disorders.

  1. Radiation exposure. 

Some studies show that people exposed to radiation like the atomic bombs in Japan and the Chernobyl nuclear accident have developed Hashimoto’s Disease.  People who undergo radiation treatment to cure Hodgkin’s disease have also shown to develop the condition.

 

What are the Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

The most common manifestation of the disease is often an enlarged thyroid, called a goiter.  Other symptoms are not noticeable at the onset of the disease and develop after a few years.  Other symptoms may include:

  • Weight gain and fatigue
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Low tolerance to cold
  • Difficulty in getting pregnant
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Irregular or heavy menstrual periods
  • Slowed heart rate

What is the Treatment for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis? 

There is no definite cure for Hashimoto’s.  The only treatment that can be done is to regulate hormone levels with medication so the body can restore its normal metabolism process. 

A test called a thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test is done to monitor thyroid function and help determine if the medication given is working properly.  Other than that, people with Hashimoto’s Disease are encouraged to live an active lifestyle and follow a healthy diet.

Read more about Managing Hashimoto’s Disease During Winter.

 

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