Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a type of Thyroid disease which are primarily conditions that affect the amount of thyroid hormones being released.

Most thyroid dysfunctions such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism are due to autoimmune thyroid disease where antibodies either gradually destroy the thyroid, or make it overactive.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid gland is gradually destroyed by a variety of cell- and antibody-mediated immune processes. Hashimoto's thyroiditis very often results in bouts of hyperthyroidism.

Antibodies against thyroglobulin (Tg) and thyroperoxidase (TPO) can aid in the diagnosis of autoimmune thyroid diseases such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Grave’s disease.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis - symptoms

There are a large number of symptoms associated with Hashimoto's thyroiditis including Myxedematous psychosis, weight gain, depression, mania, sensitivity to heat and cold, paresthesia, fatigue, panic attacks, bradycardia, tachycardia, high cholesterol, reactive hypoglycemia, constipation, migraines, muscle weakness, cramps, memory loss, infertility, and hair loss. Due to the very complex picture of symptoms, Hashimoto's thyroiditis is often misdiagnosed. Serological testing for specific thyroid markers is therefore of great diagnostic value.

 

Hashimoto's thyroiditis can be detected with a simple blood test

The disease is caused by antibodies against thyroid peroxidase and/or thyroglobulin that gradually destruct the follicles in the thyroid gland. Hence, the disease can be detected by looking for these antibodies in the blood. It is also characterized by invasion of the thyroid tissue by leukocytes, mainly T-lymphocytes.

What causes Hashimoto's thyroiditis?

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is believed to be the most common cause of primary hypothyroidism in North America. An average of 1 to 2 in a 1000 people has this disease. It occurs far more often in women than in men with a frequency of between 10:1 and 20:1. The prevalence is highest between 45 and 65 years of age. In Europe, an atrophicform of autoimmunethyroiditis called Ord's thyroiditisis more common than Hashimoto's thyroiditis. The treatment for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis consists of life-long thyroid hormone replacement therapy with drugs such as levothyroxine.

Relevant Literature

  1. Fava A, Oliverio R, Giuliano S, et al. Clinical evolution of autoimmune thyroiditis in children and adolescents. Thyroid 2009;19:361-7
  2. Huber A, Menconi F, Corathers S, et al. Joint genetic susceptibility to type 1 diabetes and autoimmune thyroiditis: from epidemiology to mechanisms. Endocr Rev. 2008;29:697-725.
  3. Tomer Y, Huber A. The etiology of autoimmune thyroid disease: a story of genes and environment. J Autoimmun. 2009;32:231-9
  4. Vanderpump MP et al. The incidence of thyroid disorders in the community: a twenty-year follow-up of the Whickham Survey. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf) 1995; 43:55-68.