Thyroiditis is a general term that refers to the swelling of the thyroid gland. This disease arises from thyroidal inflammation caused by group of individual disorders and it manifests itself in different approaches. The most common type of thyroid disease in the United States is known as Hashimoto thyroiditis (also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis). During the birth of a baby, there is an increased likelihood for women to suffer from a thyroid problem known as postpartum thyroiditis, according to the Office on Women’s Health.
Causes of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
Hashimoto thyroiditis occurs when the body’s immune system produces autoantibodies and immune cells that can damage the thyroid cells, thus interfering with their ability to secrete thyroid hormones. If the amount of thyroid hormone secreted by the immune system is not enough for the body’s needs, there is a higher risk of a condition called hypothyroidism occurring. This may also lead to the enlargement of the thyroid glands thus forming a goiter. This condition can be inherited and it is known to be rare in women than in men.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
The symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may remain unidentifiable for many years. The disease may be diagnosed when abnormal blood test is conducted during routine medical checkups or when enlarged thyroids are discovered. The symptoms relating to this disease are linked to low levels of thyroid hormone or local pressure in the neck resulting from the enlarged goiter. The first sign of this condition is a painless inflammation in the lower front of the neck with is associated with uncomfortable pressure feeling. This pressure in the front neck area causes difficulty when swallowing.
Most of the symptoms related to thyroid hormone deficiency may also be experienced by patients without thyroid disease. However, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis patients without hypothyroidism are likely to feel more tired and exhausted than usual, have heavy menstrual flow and gain extra weight. Other symptoms include learning difficulties, poor memory, swollen face and muscle ache, increased frequency of miscarriages, constipation, itchy dry skin and increased sensitivity to most medications.
A doctor can detect Hashimoto’s thyroiditis if he or she has experience in the diagnosis and treatment of thyroids disease. The specialist should identify hypothyroidism by checking for characteristic symptoms, conducting a physical examination, looking at the medical or family history, conducting blood test to check T4, T3, TSH and antibody.
The prescription given for the treatment of this disease involves synthetic thyroxine (thyroid hormone). The physician handling your case will administer tests to screen your thyroid levels in order to ascertain whether it is within the recommended range. The prescription given by the doctor will not cure the disease but rather it sustains optimum thyroid hormone levels.
The symptoms are most likely to recur if the patient quits taking the medication. At times, the doctor may recommend a surgery if the glands become bigger and hence more uncomfortable and painful. If you are given anti-thyroid or radioactive iodine medication to manage the Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, it is advisable for you to visit a doctor periodically for thyroid function tests.