Definition and General DataHashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that features with chronic inflammation of thyroid gland. This disease is the leading cause of insufficient function of thyroid gland in all the iodine sufficient areas of the United States. The function of thyroid gland slowly deteriorates as her normal tissue is being replaced with new afunctional one. The disease can be inherited and women are more prone to it.
The thyroid gland is in charge of production of two hormones, thyroxin or T3 and triiodothyronine or T4 both of which are extremely significant in the metabolism of the entire body. The two hormones are under control by thyroid-stimulating hormone that is produced by pituitary gland. These three hormones function in perfect balance not allowing each of them to be present more or less. However in certain diseases there is evident imbalance of these hormones which may be of great help for doctor to establish the real cause of hormonal imbalance and to set the correct diagnosis.
Since this disease features with production of antibodies against thyroid gland the obvious outcome is destruction of thyroid gland and consequent hypothyroidism. These hormones can be substituted. However the damage to the gland is permanent.
The symptoms include: tiredness and extreme exhaustion, high sensitivity to cold, constipation, skin pallor and dry skin, swollen face and hoarseness, high cholesterol levels, obesity, pain and weakness of muscles and joints extended menstrual hemorrhage. People who suffer from Hashimoto's thyreoiditis are more susceptible to depression.
Complications of the disease usually develop as a consequence of improper treatment or no treatment at all.
Goiter is symptomatic in case of Hashimoto's thyroiditis as the gland is stimulated to produce T3 and T4 hormones but since the damage it is not possible to fulfill the task. Large goiters lead to difficulties with swallowing and may even endanger breathing.
Heart conditions are caused by the increased levels of cholesterol. The atherosclerosis occurs more often. There are even other conditions such as enlarged heart or heart failure that can happen as a consequence of the disease.
Depression is common for people suffering from Hashimoto's thyroiditis. This condition may be so intensive so that patients need additional help from psychiatrist. Apart from depression one may experience reduced sexual libido. This is common in both women and men.
Myxedema is relatively rare but very serious and potentially lethal complication. It occurs in later stages of the untreated disease. The condition features with intolerance to cold, lethargy, stupor and loss of consciousness. A mixedema coma can be accelerated or triggered by certain medications such as sedatives and if happens one should be promptly transferred into the hospital.
And finally mothers who are suffering from Hashimoto's thyreoiditis tend to give birth to babies who are at higher risk of suffering from birth defects than children who were born by healthy mothers.