What is Hashimoto?
Hashimoto is also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is an autoimmune disease where the immune system acts against its own body’s tissues. Generally, it attacks the thyroid gland and the production of thyroid hormone is affected which can lead to hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormones are essential for our body’s metabolism and to regulate heart rate and calorie consumption from foods that we eat to get energy.
At the initial stage, the signs will be mild like an enlarged thyroid gland (swelling in the neck/throat) which is medically termed as goitre, and difficulty in swallowing foods. The clinical symptoms of the condition develop in the later years. Hashimoto symptoms include the following;
- Drastic weight gain
- Tiredness and sluggishness
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Pale and dry skin
- Puffiness around eyes and face
- Hair loss
- Brittle nail
- Muscle pain, weakness, stiffness, and tenderness
- Irregular or heavy menstrual bleeding
- Difficulty to conceive
- Slow heart rate
- Memory lapse
- Lack of concentration
All these are clinically considered symptoms of Hashimoto. Since most of the symptoms are similar to that of other medical conditions, consulting a doctor for diagnosis is very important.
Who is at Risk?
Hashimoto’s disease is hereditary. Those with a family history of this condition are vulnerable to Hashimoto.
- It is commonly seen in women than in men
- Commonly seen between the ages of 30-50 years
- Those who suffer from other autoimmune diseases are at high risk
- Exposure to environmental radiations.
Other medical conditions that act as Hashimoto risk factors are type1 diabetes, liver diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and Addison’s disease, gluten sensitivity, and Vitamin B12 deficiency.
The exact cause of Hashimoto is still unknown. Several factors contribute to this autoimmune disease. Some of the Hashimoto causes are mentioned below:
- Genetic factor – Genes play a major role as it is mostly a hereditary condition. If it runs in your family, you are more likely to develop this in your later years of life.
- Excessive iodine intake – This could be in terms of table salt or through certain drugs. Excessive iodine interferes with thyroid hormone synthesis resulting in Hashimoto.
- Hormonal imbalance – Women are more susceptible than men. Sex hormone also plays a major role. Women who have developed thyroid problem after 1st pregnancy is more likely to develop this at later years of their lives.
- Exposure to radiation – Those who are exposed to radiation therapy in cancer treatments, and Hodgkin’s disease will put you at high risk of developing Hashimoto.
How is Hashimoto Diagnosed?
For Hashimoto diagnosis, first, you shall approach a medical practitioner who can perform a physical examination and go through your medical history. The Hashimoto doctors will also check for the signs and symptoms you have noticed and family history. Hashimoto test will also include a blood test to check thyroid hormone levels.
- Free T4 Test – A low T4 level in the blood indicates hypothyroidism.
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test – A high TSH level indicates that there is low T4 hormone synthesis which is associated with hypothyroidism.
- Antithyroid Antibody test – The presence of antibodies is an indication of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism.
In some cases, the doctor may suggest you for an ultrasound of your thyroid gland. From the ultrasound, the size and appearance of the thyroid gland will be clear and you can detect any nodules or extra growth present.
How is Hashimoto Treated?
Even though there is no complete Hashimoto cure possible, the only way to control the condition is by regulating the hormone levels through medicines for Hashimoto to restore your normal metabolism. In Hashimoto treatment, the dose of medicines will be decided by doctor depending on your age, body weight, other health issues, the severity of the condition, and other medications that may interfere with these drugs. Once the treatment is started you will have a periodic check-up on your TSH level to ensure that you are getting the right dose of medication. It will take a few months for the symptoms to go away and gland to shrink. If the gland remains still the same, the doctor may suggest surgery to remove the gland.
To find the right doctor, Cure.fit is the right place to approach. You will find a solution to all your problems under one roof. Cure.fit has all specialist doctors on their board. You may choose the one in your locality at your convenience. You can book your appointment by sending a WhatsApp message and they will ensure your privacy and security at every stage of treatment.
How can Hashimoto be Prevented?
Although there is no known strategy for Hashimoto prevention, closely observing the signs and symptoms will help you figure out some methods to prevent the onset of Hashimoto. Maintaining healthy body weight, regular exercise, eating a well- balanced diet, avoiding excessive intake of iodine, etc will help to prevent the condition.