What Are the Symptoms (and Causes) of a Hashimoto’s Flare-Up

What are the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease?

Hashimoto’s disease is a thyroid disorder which causes your body to produce too much thyroid hormone. Your immune system attacks your own tissues and organs. You may have fatigue, weight loss or gain, hair loss or growth, skin changes such as sores on your face and hands, depression or anxiety disorders, memory problems and other physical problems.

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease vary from person to person. Some people experience no symptoms while others develop many of them. Sometimes they don’t show any signs until their life span is over. There are different types of Hashimoto’s disease: auto-immune type, autoimmune thyroiditis, Graves’ disease and Graves’ ophthalmopathy. Auto-immune type occurs when your body mistakenly attacks its own tissues and organs instead of attacking foreign substances like bacteria or viruses.

Auto-immune thyroiditis occurs when your immune system attacks your thyroid gland. Auto-antibodies called antithyroid antibodies attack the thyroid. They may cause fatigue, weight loss or gain, hair loss or growth, skin changes such as sores on your face and hands, depression or anxiety disorders, memory problems and other physical problems. Auto-thyroidism is another form of Hashimoto’s disease where the body produces too much thyroxine (T4). It causes the same symptoms as mentioned above but without the autoimmune reaction. Graves’ disease occurs when your eyes, skin and other organs are also attacked by antithyroid antibodies. It causes hyperthyroidism or over-activity of the thyroid gland. Graves’ ophthalmopathy is a condition that affects your eyes.

What are the causes of Hashimoto’s disease?

The exact cause of Hashimoto’s disease is not known. A virus or trauma might trigger an immune response and cause the disease in some people. It is likely that there are also other causes of this condition.

What are the risk factors for Hashimoto’s disease?

The risk factors for Hashimoto’s disease are not well known. However, your risk increases as you grow older and use human or animal thyroid replacement for over ten years. There is a genetic connection in that disease tends to run in families. Other risk factors might include an iodine deficiency, too much iodine, radiation exposure, stress or hormonal changes like during pregnancy and menopause.

How are Hashimoto’s flare-ups treated?

There is no cure for Hashimoto’s disease yet. The most common treatments for the condition include steroids, which can help to ease the swelling in your thyroid gland. However, they aren’t recommended for more than three months or else you risk developing osteoporosis and other major side effects. Your doctor might also recommend immunosuppressants, which can help to lower your antithyroid antibodies.

Sources & references used in this article:

Treatment of acute thyroiditis with antithyroid drugs by WS Reveno, H Rosenbaum – New England Journal of Medicine, 1951 – Mass Medical Soc

Fulminant necrotising fasciitis developing during long term corticosteroid treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus by N Hashimoto, H Sugiyama, K Asagoe, K Hara… – Annals of the …, 2002 – ard.bmj.com

Efficacy and safety of rituximab treatment in Indian pemphigus patients by …, N Ishii, T Dainichi, T Hashimoto – Journal of the …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library