Hashimoto's Disease - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment Methods

Hashimoto's disease is a disease characterized by the immune system attacking the thyroid gland. A family history of thyroid disorders is common, with the HLADR5 gene most strongly implicated conferring a relative risk of 3 in the UK. The person may experience symptoms of hyperthyroidism at first when the thyroid may actually produce too much thyroid hormones. It is caused by a reaction of the immune system against the thyroid gland. Hashimoto's disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. Hashimoto's disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, causes inflammation of your thyroid gland that often leads to underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). Lymphocytic thyroiditis may also occur as a self-limited condition which lasts 2-6 months, resolving spontaneously, and leaving most patients with normal thyroid function. Chronic thyroiditis or Hashimoto's disease is a common thyroid gland disorder that can occur at any age, but it is most often seen in middle aged women. It is more prevalent in women than in men (8:1), and its incidence increases with age Blood tests of thyroid function are used to detect Hashimoto's disease. Patients with this form of thyroiditis sometimes exhibit so few symptoms that the disease may go unnoticed for many years, but eventually it may destroy so much thyroid tissue that hypothyroidism develops.

Many people with this disease have no symptoms. Hashimoto's Disease is often referred to as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, autoimmune thyroiditis, lymphadenoid goiter, struma lymphomatosa, and chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis. Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is not uncommon. Many people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis have other endocrine disorders, such as diabetes, an underactive adrenal gland, or underactive parathyroid glands, and other autoimmune diseases, such as pernicious anemia, rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren's syndrome, or systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus). In many cases, Hashimoto's thyroiditis usually results in hypothyroidism, although in its acute phase, it can cause a transient thyrotoxic state. Hashimoto's disease progresses slowly over a number of years and causes chronic thyroid damage, leading to a drop in thyroid hormone levels in your blood. Less commonly, Hashimoto's disease occurs with hypoparathyroidism, adrenal insufficiency, and fungal infections of the mouth and nails in a condition called type 1 polyglandular autoimmune syndrome. The thyroid gland typically becomes and the antibodies the body normally produces to protect the body and fight foreign substances such as bacteria, are found to 'attack' their own thyroid tissue. Treatment with synthetic thyroid hormone replacement medication usually is simple and effective. Natural treatment options also exist.

Causes of Hashimoto's disease

The common causes and risk factor's of Hashimoto's disease include the following:
  • The exact cause of Hashimoto's disease is unknown
  • A reaction of the immune system against the thyroid gland
  • If someone in your family has had thyroid disease, you may have an increased risk for Hashimoto's disease
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis is most common among women, particularly older women, and tends to run in families
  • It may rarely be associated with other endocrine disorders caused by the immune system
  • A combination of factors including heredity, and age may determine your likelihood of developing the disorder
  • Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is seen more frequently in people taking extra iodine in their diets

Symptoms of Hashimoto's disease

Some sign and symptoms related to Hashimoto's disease are as follows:
  • Fatigue
  • Enlarged neck or presence of goiter
  • Small or atrophic thyroid gland
  • Dry skin
  • Joint stiffness
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Dry, coarse hair
  • Facial swelling
  • Hair loss
  • Heavy and irregular menses
  • Hoarse voice
  • An elevated blood cholesterol level
  • Intolerance to cold
Most often, people with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis suffer from symptoms of Hypothyroidism (fatigue, lethargy, decreased metabolic rate).

Treatment of Hashimoto's disease

Here is list of the methods for treating Hashimoto's disease:
  • Iron supplements
  • If Hashimoto's disease causes thyroid hormone deficiency, you may need replacement therapy with thyroid hormone
  • Antibiotics to fight infection
  • Hormones to suppress or replace thyroid function
  • Sucralfate, an ulcer medication
  • Long-term prognosis is very good. Most people with the disease can be easily treated
  • Cholestyramine (Questran), a medication used to lower blood cholesterol levels
  • Replacement therapy with thyroid hormone is given if the hormone is deficient or may be given if there is evidence of mild thyroid failure
(Posted by Juliet Cohen at http://julietcohen.articlealley.com/hashimotos-disease--causes-symptoms-and-treatment-methods-210570.html)