Hashimoto’s is not the name of the best Japanese restaurant in the United States. Hashimoto’s Disease is actually the most common thyroid disorder around, affecting 14 million people in the United states alone. With a little Hashimoto’s knowledge in your back pocket, you can decide if you should seek medical attention for your symptoms.
Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune disorder. What this means is that instead of protecting the thyroid, the immune cells inside your body start attacking the healthy tissue of the thyroid. This constant bombardment over time can cause the thyroid to become damaged, enlarged and not work properly. With Hashimoto’s, the thyroid becomes so impaired that it is no longer able to produce thyroid hormone in sufficient quantities, which leads to hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s is the leading cause of hypothyroidism. Some people may even develop a goiter, which is a large and inflamed thyroid that becomes noticeable through the skin on the neck.
By now you are probably wondering about the symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease and whether they are easy to detect. Hashimoto’s Disease is a slow moving disease and therefore, a person may have Hashimoto’s for quite some time without ever feeling any symptoms. Some of those include:
- Weight gain
- Sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin, hair and fingernails
- Increased menstrual flow in women
- Concentration issues
Since Hashimoto’s Disease is not preventable, it is important to recognize the signs and symptoms. If you are experiencing any of these conditions, please schedule an appointment at South Valley Ear Nose & Throat. Our physicians will take a medical history and ask you about your symptoms and how long you have experienced them. Blood is usually drawn and tested to measure the levels of thyroid hormone in the body. An ultrasound may be recommended to check out the thyroid to see if there are any other causes for concern. Following the exam and blood test results, a treatment plan will be discussed and implemented to manage your Hashimoto’s Disease. Common treatment plans include the use of thyroid hormones to increase the levels of hormone in the body, thereby managing the symptoms.
Hypothyroidism and goiter caused by Hashimoto’s Disease are highly treatable and the sooner a person begins treatment, the sooner they will return to a better quality of life.