Hashimoto’s Disease Symptoms: What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease are many and varied. They include fatigue, weight loss, hair loss, skin changes such as rashes or sores, constipation and diarrhea. These symptoms may occur at any time during your life even when you do not have signs and symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease. However they become worse with advancing age.
Hashimoto’s disease is a chronic autoimmune disorder which means it attacks your body from without and within. Your immune system mistakenly identifies certain foods as foreign invaders. When these food particles enter your blood stream, they cause inflammation in various organs including the thyroid gland. There are several types of Hashimoto’s disease; however all of them share some common features such as:
An underactive thyroid gland, which causes low levels of hormones (hypothyroidism).
A malfunctioning pancreas, which produces too much insulin (hyperinsulinemia). Insulin increases the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. Sugar causes your cells to absorb water and make urine. This results in dehydration and weight loss.
High levels of cholesterol in the blood (cholesterolosis), which leads to hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
Hair loss (alopecia) due to a reduction in the size of the hair follicles and a reduction in the length of individual hairs.
Skin changes such as rashes and sores (dermatitis).
How is Hashimoto’s disease treated?
The treatment for Hashimoto’s disease varies depending on your age, the symptoms you have and how they affect your quality of life. Some treatments involve lifestyle changes while others include medications, surgery or some combination of these.
The goals of treatment for Hashimoto’s disease are to:
Manage the symptoms you have.
Slow down the progression of the disease.
Improve your quality of life.
Good management of hypothyroidism involves taking thyroid hormones (levothyroxine) every day for the rest of your life. These replace the hormones that your thyroid gland isn’t producing. If you stop taking your medication, the symptoms of hypothyroidism will return. Your doctor may need to adjust the dose of your medication from time to time.
The goal of treatment for Hashimoto’s disease is to lower your risk of developing complications such as:
Heart disease (cardiovascular disease).
Diabetic retinopathy (damage to cells in the retina).
People with this condition have a slightly increased risk of developing these conditions. If identified early enough, changing your lifestyle and implementing medications can drastically reduce your risk.
It’s important to see your doctor on a regular basis so that they can monitor your condition and treatment plan.
Sources & references used in this article:
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
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Mizoribine treatment for antihistamine‐resistant chronic autoimmune urticaria by T Hashimoto, T Kawakami, N Ishii, K Ishii… – Dermatologic …, 2012 – Wiley Online Library
Hashimoto’s encephalopathy: report of three cases by JS Chang, TC Chang – Journal of the Formosan Medical Association, 2014 – Elsevier
Encephalopathy associated with autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) presenting as depression: a case report by CY Liu, MCM Tseng, PH Lin – General hospital psychiatry, 2011 – Elsevier