What is Hashimoto’s Disease?

So, what is Hashimoto’s Disease? I did touch on this in my first post, but I thought I would go into more detail.  

Again from womenshealth.gov: In people with Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system makes antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. 

This causes damage to the thyroid, which in turn causes the thyroid to underproduce thyroid hormone.  

What are the symptoms? 

From the Mayo Clinic:  

You might not notice signs or symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease at first, or you may notice a swelling at the front of your throat (goiter). Hashimoto’s disease typically progresses slowly over years and causes chronic thyroid damage, leading to a drop in thyroid hormone levels in your blood. The signs and symptoms are mainly those of an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). 

Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include: 

  • Fatigue and sluggishness 
  • Increased sensitivity to cold 
  • Constipation 
  • Pale, dry skin 
  • A puffy face 
  • Brittle nails 
  • Hair loss 
  • Enlargement of the tongue 
  • Unexplained weight gain 
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness 
  • Joint pain and stiffness 
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding  
  • Depression 
  • Memory lapses 

I did not experience any symptoms, but my doctor and endocrinologist pointed out my enlarged thyroid right away. If it weren’t for that, I probably would never had gotten tested or diagnosed.  

How is Hashimoto’s diagnosed? 

Testing for Hashimoto’s is through blood work. My first round of blood work was to test my thyroid function by testing TSH, T3 and T4 levels. Once those came back and I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, I did another round of bloodwork to test for the Hashimoto’s antibodies.  

How is Hashimoto’s treated? 

From womenshealth.gov: Hashimoto’s disease is treated with a daily dose of levothyroxine. This is the same hormone that your thyroid gland makes. You will probably need to take thyroid hormone pills for the rest of your life. 

Well, doesn’t that sound grim. My endocrinologist prescribed my medication the second we got a positive Hashimoto’s diagnosis, and I take it. Everyday.  

Who gets Hashimoto’s Disease? 

From womenshealth.gov: Hashimoto’s disease affects more women than men. It can happen in teens and young women, but it most often appears between ages 40 and 60.1 Hashimoto’s disease often runs in families. 

I was diagnosed at 29, so age was not really a factor for me, but I do have a family history. 

What causes Hashimoto’s? 

The best question with the worst answer, in my opinion.  

From womenshealth.gov: Researchers aren’t sure exactly what causes Hashimoto’s disease. 

Peachy. All we know is that for some reason, our bodies are attacking themselves.  

So those are the basics of Hashimoto’s Disease. Everyone does experience the disease differently. The way my aunt had and has Hashimoto’s is very different from the way I have it. No two people are alike in what they will experience, so it is especially important to always consult a medical professional.  

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health care provider 

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