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What Is Hashimoto's Disease?

Aug 17, 2007
Hashimoto's disease (by Japanese surgeon; Hashimoto, Hakaru 1881-1934) is a chronic thyroiditis. It is characterized by the production of autoantibodies that attack the thyroid. This will eventually cause a lack of thyroid hormone, thyroid fibrosis, and infiltration of thyroid tissue by lymphoid tissue.
Hashimoto's disease is also a common cause of a goiter. A goiter is an enlargement of the thyroid gland. It becomes clearly visible as a swelling on the front part of the neck because the thyroids tends to grow 2 to 5 times bigger than normal.
Hashimoto's disease is also called Hashimoto's struma, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, or struma lymphomatosa.

The thyroid gland secretes two hormones controlling the usage of energy and the body temperature. To determine if the thyroid gland is working properly, different hormone levels can be measured in the blood. The pituitary gland secretes a hormone called TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). TSH level is clearly elevated when the thyroid gland is not functioning properly. Also an iodine absorption test may be performed to show too low uptake of iodine, which may indicate hypothyroidism.

If you suspect that your thyroid is not active enough, you can do a thyroid self-test in the morning. Stay in bed after you awake and take your temperature from under your arm. Try to stay very still and quiet for fifteen minutes. If your temperature is 97.6F or lower for 5 days, you can ask your professional health care provider if there is a reason to test the condition of your thyroid.

Symptoms of Hashimoto's disease include fatigue, loss of appetite, weight gain, sensitivity to cold, muscle cramps, depression, fertility problems, painful premenstrual periods, muscle weakness, dry and scaly skin, yellowish coloration in the skin, yellowish bumps on the eyelids, hair loss, constipation, persistent infections, swollen eyes, and milky discharge from breasts.

Hashimoto's disease is a rare disease and it is more common among women than men. Usually it appears in the age range of 30-50. About 10-30% of people suffering from Hashimoto's disease will develop hypothyroidism. The treatment is usually replacement of the thyroid hormone for the rest of the patient's life. In case autoimmune diseases run in your family it doesn't mean that you will definitely be ill.
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