ABC’s of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
- Hashimoto’s disease, also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis or autoimmune thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease.
- Hashimoto’s disease often leads to reduced thyroid function, or hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a disorder that occurs when the thyroid doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone for the body’s needs.
- Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. Many people with Hashimoto’s disease have no symptoms at first. As the disease slowly progresses, the thyroid usually enlarges and may cause the front of the neck to look swollen. The enlarged thyroid, called a goiter, may create a feeling of fullness in the throat, though it is usually not painful.
- Not everyone with Hashimoto’s disease develops hypothyroidism. For those who do, the hypothyroidism may be subclinical—mild and without symptoms, especially early in its course.
- Hashimoto’s disease is much more common in women than men. Although the disease often occurs in adolescent or young women, it more commonly appears between 30 and 50 years of age.
- Hashimoto’s disease, with or without hypothyroidism, is treated with synthetic thyroxine, which is man-made T4.
- Women with Hashimoto’s disease should discuss their condition with their health care provider before becoming pregnant.
- Pregnant women should choose iodized salt—salt supplemented with iodine—over plain salt and take prenatal vitamins containing iodine.
- People should discuss their use of dietary supplements, such as iodine, with their health care provider.