What Is Hashimoto's?

By boone
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There are four main types of thyroid disease: hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, benign thyroid disease, and thyroid cancers. Hashimoto’s disease, also known as Hashimoto thyroiditis, is a type of hypothyroidism in which the functioning of the thyroid gland is diminished. It is named for a Japanese surgeon who first described the condition in 1912.

If you are experiencing fatigue and weight gain, you may be curious whether hypothyroidism could be to blame. If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, you may have questions about treatment options and what to expect. Here are 10 important facts to know, based on frequently asked questions about this condition.

1. Cause

Hashimoto’s disease is one of several autoimmune thyroid diseases in which the body’s immune system destroys cells of the thyroid gland or blocks its production or secretion of hormones. Specific antibodies that attack thyroid cells include anti-thyroid peroxidase, antithyroglobulin, thyroid-stimulating antibody, cytotoxic antibody, and TSH receptor-blocking antibodies.

The disease has a genetic component, so a person is more likely to develop it if other family members have previously been diagnosed. Environmental triggers that increase risk are cigarette smoking, excess dietary iodine, chemicals such as BPA, medications such as lithium or amiodarone, antiretroviral therapy, and chronic or acute stress.


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