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An Overview of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

An Overview of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Symptoms, Causes, Complications, Diagnosis, and Treatment

The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is a silent, but salient, component of the body’s metabolism. It secretes various hormones that are critical for various bodily functions. A prevalent autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can impact the individual’s overall health. The condition compels the body’s immune system to work against the thyroid. Its complications are both physical and emotional.

In this blog, we will unravel the complexities of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, by throwing light on its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options. Additionally, we will also highlight the potential complications commonly associated with the condition.

What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Named after the Japanese physician Hakaru Hashimoto who first described the condition in 1912, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder characterized by inflammation of the thyroid gland. It causes the immune system to mistakenly identify the thyroid gland as a threat to the body. This results in the immune system producing antibodies that attack and damage thyroid tissue. This continuous attack on the thyroid gland causes chronic inflammation, and results in the disruption of the gland’s ability to secrete thyroid hormones. This eventually leads to hypothyroidism. 

A common misdiagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is goiter. This is because the condition causes the thyroid gland to enlarge, thus leading to a visible swelling in the neck.

Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Recognising the symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is crucial for timely intervention. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Persistent fatigue and low energy levels
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Increased sensitivity to cold temperatures
  • Pains and aches in joints and muscles
  • Changes in hair and skin
  • Depression and/or mood swings

In very rare cases, the attacking of the thyroid tissue may result in an overactive thyroid causing it to make an excessive amount of the thyroid hormone. In such instances, the individual may experience some or a combination of the following symptoms:

  • Rapid heart beat
  • Sweating
  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Increased sensitivity to hot temperatures

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Causes

Autoimmune dysfunction is the primary cause of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This dysfunction causes the immune system to mistakenly attack the thyroid tissue. Although it is difficult to pinpoint an exact trigger for this autoimmune response, below are some potential causes:

  • Family history of autoimmune disorders
  • Exposure to toxins, viral infections, and other environmental factors

The two major risk factors of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, like many other autoimmune conditions, include:

  • Gender: Women are more likely to be affected than men
  • Age: Middle-aged and older individuals have greater chances of developing the condition

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Diagnosis

In order to effectively diagnose Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, your doctor may prescribe a combination of physical and medical history examinations, as well as laboratory tests that include:

  • Thyroid Function Test – This measures the levels of thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
  • Imaging Studies –  An ultrasound or other imaging studies help evaluate the structure and size of the thyroid gland.
  • Antibody Tests – These help detect presence of antibodies such as anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO) as well as anti-thyroglobulin antibodies/

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Treatment

Traditional treatment of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis focuses primarily on alleviating symptoms and normalizing thyroid hormone levels, while addressing the autoimmune component. These options include:

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy: Synthetic thyroid hormones, such as levothyroxine aim to replace deficient thyroid hormones and restore balance.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Maintaining a balanced diet along with regular exercise and effective stress management can help manage symptoms and autoimmune response.
  • Regular Monitoring: This is critical to evaluate the efficacy of the prescribed medication and alter the same accordingly.

Stem Cell Therapy for Autoimmune Conditions at Plexus

At Plexus, we offer customized regenerative medicine programs for autoimmune conditions that provide relief from symptoms, slow down disease progression, and improve quality of life.

The administration of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) has shown great results in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. MSC’s immunomodulatory, tissue-protective and repair-promoting properties make them a great alternative to traditional prescription-based treatment for autoimmune diseases. Stem cell therapy using MSCs is an innovative approach to managing autoimmune conditions, providing long-term relief, and even addressing its underlying causes.

As undifferentiated progenitor cells, MSCs have the ability to transform into various cell types. This particular characteristic of MSCs is especially useful for treating autoimmune conditions, as injected stem cells can transform into cells that make up the immune system. Below are the features of MSCs that aid in managing autoimmune conditions:

  • Anti-Inflammatory properties that alleviate chronic inflammation and even help with symptom relief.
  • Reset immune system (immunomodulation) and reduce autoimmune responses.
  • Repair or regenerate damaged tissues, and aid in repairing organs and systems affected by the condition.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Complications

If left untreated or not managed effectively, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can lead to various complications, including:

  • Cardiovascular Disorders, such as heart disease
  • Goiter
  • Myxedema (advanced and life-threatening form of hypothyroidism)

It is important to be aware of the potential complications of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis to effectively monitor the condition and provide suitable timely interventions.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a multifaceted disorder that requires a holistic approach to treatment and management. At Plexus, we tailor our regenerative program to effectively address underlying causes, alleviate symptoms, recognise potential complications, and empower patients to live more purposeful lives.

FAQs

Can Hashimoto’s disease be cured?

Hashimoto’s disease can be effectively managed with traditional treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy and lifestyle modifications. Latest advances in medicine have made stem cell therapy a suitable and customisable approach to treating the condition and significantly improving the lives of patients.

What is the best thing to do for Hashimoto’s disease?

The best approach for Hashimoto’s disease involves a combination of stem cell therapy, hormone replacement therapy, lifestyle modifications, stress management, and consistent medical monitoring. 

How serious is Hashimoto’s disease?

Although chronic, Hashimoto’s disease is a manageable condition. However, if left untreated, it can lead to complications such as goiter or cardiovascular issues. With timely diagnosis and intervention, individuals with Hashimoto’s can lead healthy lives.

What are the warning signs of Hashimoto’s?

Warning signs of Hashimoto’s disease include fatigue, unexplained weight gain, sensitivity to cold, muscle and joint pain, and an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter). In some cases, changes in mood, including depression, may also occur. 

What foods should individuals with Hashimoto’s avoid?

Individuals with Hashimoto’s should consider avoiding foods that may exacerbate inflammation or interfere with thyroid function. Some of these foods are soy products, cruciferous vegetables (e.g., broccoli, cabbage), and excessive iodine. Before implementing any dietary modifications, please discuss the same with your doctor.

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