Hashimoto’s Disease, also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, it is an autoimmune disorder which is one of the leading causes of hypothyroidism. An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks the body tissues. Specifically for Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system attacks the thyroid, a small gland located at the base of the neck. The thyroid is responsible for secreting hormones for metabolism, growth, and development.
In Hashimoto’s disease, the patient has a high risk of having hypothyroidism wherein there is a shortage of the hormones released by the thyroid. The disease is named after Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, who first described this autoimmune disease in 1912.
The symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease can be subtle and take years to develop. One of the common and first signs is the presence of an enlarged thyroid known as goiter. Goiter is easily detected due to the swollen look in the neck. The first thing that people with large goiter will notice is difficulty in swallowing. Later, as the thyroid function decreases, Hashimoto’s disease leads to hypothyroidism which can present with any combination of symptoms. The symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease overlap with many other diseases. It is important that you consult with your doctor if you have symptoms suggestive of Hashimoto’s Disease.
Life-threatening hypothyroidism can lead to myxedema coma which is a state of decompensated hypothyroidism resulting in loss of brain function due to low levels of thyroid hormones for an extended period.
It’s very important that you consult with a health care professional if you feel you may have thyroid disease. And do keep in mind, it may take visiting more than one doctor to get the care you need and deserve.
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