Chronic thyroiditis (Hashimoto disease)

Hashimoto thyroiditis; Chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis; Autoimmune thyroiditis; Chronic autoimmune thyroiditis; Lymphadenoid goiter - Hashimoto; Hypothyroidism - Hashimoto; Type 2 polyglandular autoimmune syndrome - Hashimoto; PGA II - Hashimoto; Hashimoto's disease; Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Chronic thyroiditis is caused by a reaction of the immune system against the thyroid gland. It often results in reduced thyroid function (hypothyroidism).

The disorder is also called Hashimoto disease.

The thyroid gland is located in the neck, just above where your collarbones meet in the middle.

Endocrine glands

Endocrine glands release hormones (chemical messengers) into the bloodstream to be transported to various organs and tissues throughout the body. For instance, the pancreas secretes insulin, which allows the body to regulate levels of sugar in the blood. The thyroid gets instructions from the pituitary to secrete hormones which determine the rate of metabolism in the body (the more hormone in the bloodstream, the faster the chemical activity; the less hormone, the slower the activity).

Thyroid enlargement - scintiscan

This image shows the enlargement of the thyroid gland and extension down behind the breastbone (retrosternal space). The image, called a scintiscan, was generated using a radioactive isotope.

Hashimoto's disease (chronic thyroiditis)

Chronic thyroiditis (Hashimoto's disease) is a slowly developing persistent inflammation of the thyroid which frequently leads to hypothyroidism, a decreased function of the thyroid gland. Middle-aged women are most commonly affected.

Thyroid gland

The thyroid gland, a part of the endocrine (hormone) system, plays a major role in regulating the body's metabolism.

Do you feel tired and weak? Well, there could be many reasons for that, but a slow, underactive thyroid may be your problem. Let's talk about hypothyroidism - also known as Slow Thyroid. Here's the thyroid. It's this butterfly shaped gland in your neck - just below the voice box. The thyroid gland is known as the master gland of the body. It regulates our metabolism, so we don't act slow, like turtles, or fast, like jackrabbits. This gland releases hormones that control many important things, like helping your heart pump blood, stimulating your brain and muscles, and helping you keep your body at a healthy temperature. When you have hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland does not make enough hormone, so you end up feeling a bit slow, and perhaps cold, like the turtle. So, what causes a slow thyroid? For at least 9 out of 10 folks, the cause is something called Hashimoto's thyroiditis -- It's what we call an autoimmune condition, where, for reasons that we don't quite understand, our own body attacks perfectly good thyroid tissue as though it were a foreign invader. This attack damages the thyroid gland, so much, that it can't put out enough hormone. This attack happens much more often in women than in men, 10 and 20 times more often. Also, some women develop this condition soon after pregnancy, Why that happens? Nobody knows for sure! So, how do you feel if you have a slow thyroid? If it's just mildly slow, you might not feel anything at all, that's called subclinical hypothyroidism. On the other hand, you might be experiencing symptoms of a slow thyroid RIGHT NOW, but you just haven't connected the dots. You might have mild fatigue, memory or concentration problems. You may have a decreased sex drive, or have trouble losing weight. If you have hypothyroidism, the main treatment is to use a synthetic form of T4 hormone, called Levothyroxine, that simply replaces what your body isn't producing. After starting hormone replacement, your hormone levels should be checked about every 6 weeks, to make sure you are maintaining normal levels. It's important to remember that treating hypothyroidism does not cure the problem, it only controls it. And once you're on Thyroid hormone replacement, you're probably on it for life. The good news is that once your thyroid situation is properly regulated, you'll probably feel a whole lot better.



Exams and Tests


Outlook (Prognosis)

Possible Complications

When to Contact a Medical Professional