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[14 Sep 2009 | No Comments | 92 views | Author: Dee Braun, DrR, CA, CCT]
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Hashimoto’s or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a specific type of autoimmune disease. This disease causes the immune system to attack and destroy the thyroid gland. This can lead to serious complications because the thyroid gland is responsible for setting the rate of your metabolism. Or in other words, the thyroid gland sets the rate at which your body uses energy.

Hashimoto’s is the most common thyroid disease in the United States today. This disease will stop the thyroid gland from making enough thyroid hormones for the body to function properly.

The symptoms of Hashimoto’s vary from person to person. Some people will have no symptoms at all. The most common symptoms are fatigue, depression, sensitivity to cold and weight gain. Some people will suffer from forgetfulness, muscle weakness, constipation and increased menstrual flow. A few people with Hashimoto’s will experience major swelling of the thyroid gland in the front of the neck. This is sometimes referred to as a goiter.

There is no concrete evidence that Hashimoto’s is a hereditary condition. However, if you have a family history of autoimmune disorders in general then you can be considered a higher risk for developing Hashimoto’s.

The test for Hashimoto’s is a simple blood test. Your doctor will order a TSH which stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. If this level comes back out of normal range then your doctor may order a specific thyroid hormone test.

Complications of Hashimoto’s can become quite serious if this disease is left untreated. A goiter is one complication that if it becomes large enough it can interfere with breathing and swallowing.

Other complications of Hashimoto’s include heart problems such as heart failure, mental health issues and myxedema. The most serious of these three complications is myexdema. This condition is rare but it can progress from intense cold intolerance and drowsiness to profound lethargy and coma. If left untreated a myexedema coma will be fatal.

A woman that has a history of untreated Hashimoto’s will have a higher risk for having a child with birth defects. These defects can include a cleft palate and heart, brain and kidney problems.

It is important that you tell your doctor all of the symptoms you have been experiencing. Let him know if there is a family history of any chronic disease, especially autoimmune diseases.

The treatment for Hashimoto’s is a hormone replacement pill that must be taken daily. Your doctor will need to monitor the amount of hormone in your system by doing routine blood tests. Your doctor may need to make a couple of adjustments to your hormone replacement medication until the right level is achieved.

If you suspect you have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis you should see your doctor right away. This is one disease that should not go untreated.

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