Hashimoto’s disease, also known as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, is the most prominent thyroid disease in America. It is a genetically inherited disease that is nearly seven times more common in women than in men. Hashimoto’s Disease occurs due to the production of autoantibodies and immune cells by the body’s immune system, which can damage the thyroid cells and impair their ability to create thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland may also become larger in some patients, forming nodules and a goiter.
Many patients with Hashimoto’s disease may not show any symptoms for many years.
However, patients with Hashimoto’s disease are likely to develop symptoms such as:
If you're experiencing any of the symptoms of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, we recommending giving our endocrinologists at Palm Beach Diabetes and Endocrine Specialists PA a call. We will discuss your symptoms for you and perform the following blood tests to assess the following:
Your pituitary gland produces a thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which controls the production of thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are responsible for maintaining your metabolic rate, muscle control, bone maintenance, brain development, digestive functions, and heart health. During a TSH test, we will perform a blood test to measure your levels of TSH. High levels of TSH in your blood is an indication that you have Hashimoto's disease resulting in hypothyroidism.
T4 (also known as thyroxine) is a hormone produced by the thyroid. T4 is responsible for growth, metabolism, and many more of your body's vital functions. Free T4 is when the hormone hasn't bonded to any of the protein in your blood and thus can be used by any tissues or organs that need it. Typically, we will only perform a free T4 test if your TSH test shows abnormal levels. Low levels of T4 indicate Hashimoto's disease and/or hypothyroidism.
Because Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is a result of antibodies attacking the thyroid gland, an antibody test can detect whether these antibodies are present.
In addition to blood tests, we will also use a high-resolution ultrasound to view your thyroid. This will help us detect whether there are any nodules or your thyroid is enlarged, also known as a goiter.
While they are often used interchangeably, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and hypothyroidism are two different conditions. As mentioned above, Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disease where antibodies attack your thyroid gland.
Hypothyroidism, on the other hand, is a condition in which your thyroid gland is underactive and doesn't produce the proper amount of thyroid hormones.
However, these two conditions are linked. Due to the antibodies attacking your thyroid, stunting the production of hormones, Hashimoto's disease can cause hypothyroidism.
Our physician, Dr. Shital Patel specializes in Hashimoto's disease treatment in Palm Beach County and will provide the professional help you seek. If your Hashimoto's thyroiditis has resulted in hypothyroidism, you will need medicinal intervention.
Patients with hypothyroidism must take a pill containing thyroid hormone every day to replace the thyroid hormone they lack. Synthetic T4, called levothyroxine, is exactly the same as the T4 made by the body. Some patients may also require T3 therapy, which is another thyroid hormone that circulates in our bodies. This can be achieved by adding liothyronine or by taking Armour Thyroid or Nature-Thyroid, which has T4 and T3 in it. It is important that your physician bases appropriate treatment not only on blood tests but on symptoms, due to the broad normal range of thyroid levels.