Hashimoto’s Disease, also known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, is an inherited condition and the most common thyroid disease in the United States. It affects over 10 million Americans, and is more common in women than men.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the production of autoantibodies and immune cells by the body’s immune system. These cells can damage the thyroid cells and their ability to make thyroid hormones, it can also cause the thyroid gland to become enlarged. When the amount of thyroid hormones produced isn’t enough for the needs of the body, this is when Hypothyroidism can occur.
What Causes Hashimoto’s Disease?
Our immune systems are designed to fight off invaders in the body such as bacteria and viruses, however, in someone with Hashimoto’s disease, the body mistakes thyroid cells as invaders and produces new antibodies to fight these cells off, and may destroy them.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease may not be seen for several years, and can go undiagnosed until an enlarged thyroid gland or not normal blood work is present. While the antibodies themselves do not cause symptoms, symptoms are most commonly noticed from the enlarged thyroid itself.
The very first sign of Hashimoto’s disease is most commonly pressure in the front, lower part of your neck. It is mostly painless swelling but it can cause other issues such as difficulty swallowing.
Patients who have hashimoto’s disease and are experiencing hypothyroidism may notice the following symptoms:
Dry/Brittle Hair or Nails
Heavy Menstrual Flow
Increased Sensitivity To Cold
How Is Hashimoto’s Disease Diagnosed?
Usually during a physical exam, your physician can detect an enlarged thyroid gland, and by performing tests and learning of your symptoms. The following tests are generally used to help determine Hashimoto’s disease:
Anti-thyroid Antibodies (testing for increased anti-thyroid antibodies)
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or Thyrotropin Test (TSH) (testing for increased TSH level in the blood)
Estimates of Thyroxine test: (measures the level of T4 in your blood)
If you suffer from Hashimoto’s Disease or Hypothyroidism, contact Madison Integrative Medicine. We optimize your Thyroid Care with a holistic approach. We are located in Madison, Alabama and serve patients located in Huntsville, Madison and surrounding areas.