Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland that particularly affects women. We explain how you can recognize the disease and how it should be treated.
What is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease. The thyroid is chronically inflamed because it is attacked by its own immune system. Hashimoto's thyroiditis leads to typical symptoms of hypothyroidism, because the thyroid can no longer produce enough thyroid hormones due to the disease. These hormones are involved in various functions in the body, such as metabolism and the psyche. The disease can be recognized by certain blood values.
Why is my thyroid getting sick?
The exact causes behind autoimmune diseases are still unclear. The immune system, which is actually supposed to fight viruses and bacteria, forms antibodies and thus attacks the body's own tissue – in the case of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, the thyroid gland. As a result, the organ atrophies and can no longer fulfill its function.
Experts suspect that an infection caused by viruses or bacteria can trigger autoimmune diseases. But the following factors could also play a role:
- Genetic predisposition
- Diet high in iodine
- Pre-existing chronic diseases such as Addison's disease and diabetes
What are the symptoms of the disease?
Hashimoto proceeds painlessly at first, then it can lead to an overactive thyroid, which can cause the following symptoms:
- Rapid weight loss
- Racing heart
- sleep disorders
- Muscle weakness
- Hair loss
But the hyperfunction is only temporary – after some time the production of thyroid hormone is completely reduced, then typical symptoms of an underactive thyroid appear. The following Hashimoto symptoms exist:
- Rapid weight gain
- Hair loss
- Dry skin
- Memory and concentration disorders
Treatment: what can be done about Hashimoto's thyroiditis?
If Hashimoto is diagnosed, the doctor prescribes an artificial form of the thyroid hormone as a tablet. This should be taken every morning on an empty stomach about 30 minutes before breakfast. Usually you start with a low dose and increase it gradually. Under the optimal setting, the thyroid value TSH should be between 0.5 and 1 mIU / ml.
When the hormone is added, symptoms regress in many patients. The autoimmune disease itself is incurable.
You can find out how you feel with an underactive thyroid here: How my thyroid almost drove me into depression.
Reading tip: You can find out everything about the hormone diet here.