Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a condition that affects the thyroid gland. It causes inflammation and, in many cases, can lead to a decrease in the production of thyroid hormone.Say’s Dr Lane Sebring, Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease, which means that your body mistakenly attacks its own tissues—in this case, your thyroid gland.
What is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing inflammation. The thyroid gland is a small organ located in your neck that produces hormones that control metabolism and regulate other body processes.
Hashimoto’s disease occurs when antibodies produced by B lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) attach themselves to the thyroid cells and destroy them, resulting in hypothyroidism (low levels of circulating thyroid hormones).
Who gets Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s is more common in women than men. It also tends to affect people over the age of 50, and it’s more common in people with other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and celiac disease.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may be hereditary–meaning that if one parent has it, there’s a higher chance that their children will develop Hashimoto’s as well–but this isn’t always the case; many people develop the condition out of nowhere (i.e., they don’t have any family history).
What causes Hashimoto’s?
Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system attacks the thyroid gland. The exact cause of Hashimoto’s isn’t known, but researchers believe it may be due to genetics or an environmental factor such as a virus or bacteria that triggers the immune response.
Hashimoto’s isn’t caused by smoking or drinking alcohol excessively (though these things can make it worse), nor does it affect people who are overweight or underweight.
How is it diagnosed?
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is diagnosed with a blood test, ultrasound and/or biopsy.
- Blood test: The most common test that doctors use to diagnose Hashimoto’s is called TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) and T4 (thyroid hormone). A low level of T4 could indicate hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s. Your doctor may also check for other antibodies in your blood that are associated with autoimmune diseases such as celiac disease, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of organs inside the body. It can help doctors detect nodules on your thyroid gland or areas where there may be inflammation due to Hashimoto’s disease or another condition like cancerous growths called lymphoma
If you or someone in your family has symptoms of Hashimoto’s, it is important to get it diagnosed and treated quickly.
If you or someone in your family has symptoms of Hashimoto’s, it is important to get it diagnosed and treated quickly. Hashimoto’s is a chronic condition that can be treated with medication. It is not contagious or cancerous, so there is no need for concern about spreading the disease through casual contact.
It is important to get Hashimoto’s diagnosed and treated quickly. It can be a serious condition if left untreated, so it is recommended that you see a doctor if symptoms persist for more than six months.