It is defined as the autoimmune disease in which our immune cells start attacking on thyroid gland. Thyroid is a butterfly shape gland located below the Adam’s apple. Thyroid gland secretes T3 and T4 hormones which regulate the metabolism of the body.
You might not notice signs or symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease early or you may only notice swelling at the front of your throat. Hashimoto’s disease progresses very slowly over the years and causes chronic damage that leads to a drop in thyroid hormone levels in the bloodstream. These signs and symptoms are mainly of an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). These include:
- Sensitivity to cold
- Pale, dry skin
- A puffy face
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
- Enlargement of the tongue
- Unexplained weight gain
- Muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Muscle weakness
- Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Memory lapses
It is the autoimmune disorder in which your immune system starts to make antibodies against your thyroid tissue and start to damage the gland. The exact cause of immune system over activation is not known yet.
If left untreated it may lead to the following complications:
- Mental health issues
- Heart problem
- Birth defects
Diagnostic tests include:
- Physical test to check any physical abnormality and tenderness and swelling around the neck.
- Blood test to check the level of thyroid hormone and any specific antibody against thyroid tissue.
- Imaging test like x-ray and CT scan for the detail image of the thyroid gland.
- Biopsy of thyroid tissue to see the type and stage of cancer.
The treatment for Hashimoto’s disease includes observation and the use of medications. If there is no evidence of hormone deficiency, or the thyroid is functioning normally, the doctor suggests an approach known as wait and see. If you need any medication, you will need it for the rest of your life.
If Hashimoto’s disease causes thyroid hormone deficiency, the affected person might need replacement therapy with thyroid hormone. This therapy involves daily use of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Levoxyl, Synthroid, etc). The oral hormone medication restores enough hormone levels and reverses the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Standard treatment for Hashimoto’s disease is levothyroxine that is, thyroxine (T-4). However, extracts are available from the thyroid glands of pigs that contain thyroid hormones. The available products are Armour Thyroid. These contain both levothyroxine and triiodothyronine (T-3).