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Hashimoto's Disease (Thyroiditis)

Hashimoto’s Disease usually causes hypothyroid symptoms, however it is possible for Hashimoto symptoms to swing between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Treatment for hypothyroidism is Thyroxine replacement therapy. 

Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland, often producing an enlargement of the thyroid gland. It can be caused either by thyroid antibodies attacking the gland (autoimmune thyroiditis or Hashimoto’s disease) or by a bacterial/viral infection (subacute thyroiditis). There are other very rare causes of thyroiditis.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may cause the thyroid gland to be damaged and fail to function normally. It may enlarge to produce a goitre or it simply atrophy and shrink. Nodules may also develop in the thyroid gland, called a multi-nodular goitre. The gland may become painful during a Hashimoto’s attack.

Hashimoto’s usually causes hypothyroidism (underactive symptoms). Very rarely it may cause hyperthyroidism (overactive symptoms). Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune disease. It runs in families with a specific pattern of inheritance and therefore it can be passed from one generation to another.

Subacute thyroiditis is usually a self-limiting disorder. It is believed to be caused by a viral infection which causes acute painful inflammation of the thyroid gland with destruction of thyroid cells and release of excessive quantities of thyroid hormone into the blood stream. The patient affected by this disorder usually complains of a painful swollen thyroid gland and symptoms of hyperthyroid. This gradually gets better over a period of weeks or months but the damage done to the thyroid gland may cause hypothyroidism that can last for months. Most patients recover but some do not and will need lifelong thyroxine replacement therapy for life.

‘ATF CEO Beverley Garside and Principal Medical Advisor, Professor Creswell Eastman speak to Yasmin Noone – SBS Online about Hashimoto’s Disease.’

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