Atlantic Endocrinology New York City

What is hashimoto’s disease

Hashimoto’s disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing inflammation and damage to the gland. This can lead to an underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism.

What is Hashimoto’s Disease 

The thyroid gland, located in the neck, produces hormones that regulate metabolism and other bodily functions. When the immune system attacks the thyroid, it can cause a decrease in the production of these hormones, which can lead to a variety of symptoms, such as fatigue, weight gain, constipation, dry skin, and sensitivity to cold.

How Does Hashimoto’s Disease Affect the Immune System?  

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues.

In the case of Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing inflammation and damage to the gland. This can lead to a decrease in the production of thyroid hormones, which are important for regulating metabolism and other bodily functions.

The exact cause of Hashimoto’s disease is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

Some of the factors that may contribute to the development of Hashimoto’s disease include a family history of thyroid disorders, exposure to radiation, and viral infections.

In Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. These antibodies can be detected through blood tests, which can help to confirm a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease.

How is Hashimoto’s Disease Diagnosed?

Hashimoto’s disease is typically diagnosed by a combination of a physical exam, blood tests, and other diagnostic tests.

During a physical exam, a doctor may check for any signs of an enlarged thyroid gland, which can be an indication of Hashimoto’s disease.

The doctor may also check for other symptoms, such as dry skin, thinning hair, or a slow heart rate, which can be associated with an underactive thyroid.

Blood tests are the primary way to diagnose Hashimoto’s disease. The tests can measure the levels of thyroid hormones and Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH) in the blood. In Hashimoto’s disease, TSH levels are typically elevated, while thyroid hormone levels are low.

In addition to blood tests, a doctor may order a thyroid ultrasound or a thyroid biopsy to evaluate the thyroid gland.

A thyroid ultrasound can help to determine if the gland is enlarged or if there are any nodules or other abnormalities. A thyroid biopsy involves removing a small sample of tissue from the thyroid gland for analysis.

Finally, a doctor may check for the presence of antibodies to the thyroid gland, which are typically present in Hashimoto’s disease. The presence of these antibodies can help to confirm a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease.

What is hashimoto's disease

Treatment For Hashimoto’s Disease

The treatment for Hashimoto’s disease usually involves medication to replace the missing thyroid hormones and manage symptoms.

The main treatment is a synthetic form of the hormone thyroxine, which is taken orally in the form of a pill. This medication, commonly known as levothyroxine, works to restore normal levels of thyroid hormones in the body.

The dosage of levothyroxine may need to be adjusted over time, and regular blood tests will be necessary to monitor thyroid hormone levels and ensure that the medication is working effectively.

It may take several weeks or months for symptoms to improve after starting treatment.

In addition to medication, there are other steps that can be taken to manage the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease.

These may include:

  • Eating a balanced and healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Exercising regularly to help manage weight and improve energy levels.
  • Getting enough rest and managing stress levels.
  • Avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove part or all of the thyroid gland. This may be recommended if there are large nodules or other abnormalities in the gland, or if the thyroid is not functioning properly despite medication.

Overall, the treatment of Hashimoto’s disease is aimed at restoring normal thyroid hormone levels in the body, managing symptoms, and preventing complications. With proper treatment, most people with Hashimoto’s disease are able to lead normal, healthy lives.

Which Specialist Should You See For Hashimoto’s Disease

If you suspect that you have Hashimoto’s disease or have been diagnosed with the condition, you may want to consult with an endocrinologist.

An endocrinologist is a medical specialist who has expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of hormonal and metabolic disorders, including thyroid diseases like Hashimoto’s disease.

An endocrinologist can perform a thorough evaluation and work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan to manage your condition.

They may order different diagnostic tests and blood tests to monitor your thyroid hormone levels and adjust your medication as necessary.

Your primary care physician can also diagnose and manage Hashimoto’s disease, but if your symptoms are severe or if you have complications with this condition, they may refer you to an endocrinologist for further evaluation and treatment.

It’s important to work with a healthcare provider who has experience treating Hashimoto’s disease and who can provide ongoing care and support to manage the condition effectively.