As the first autoimmune disease to be identified, Hashimoto's disease is a condition that attacks the thyroid and can cause many serious health troubles. A diagnosis of Hashimoto's disease can be frightening, but knowledge can help ease fears and improve a person's chances of staying healthy, even while battling this condition.
Symptoms of Hashimoto's Disease
Hashimoto's disease occurs when a person's immune system seeks out and attacks the thyroid. As a result of the attack, hyperthyroidism begins to develop. The symptoms for both Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism can be easily missed or mistaken to be other conditions, making it difficult to diagnose this disorder when it first begins to invade the body
Hashimoto's most telling symptom is a swollen throat around the area the thyroid is located. Hyperthyroidism, the result of Hashimoto's, has more noticeable signs. Someone who has Hashimoto's and hypothyroidism may find they are easily tired and feel cold when others are comfortable. Other indicators of these conditions include weight gain, dry skin, pain in the shoulders, joints and hips, depression and extreme menstrual cycles in length or amount of blood loss.
Who Can Be Afflicted
While everyone is at risk at developing Hashimoto's, women have a higher chance of becoming afflicted with this disorder. Although this condition may begin to show symptoms at any age, it is most likely to affect those who are middle aged. People who have a family history of Hashimoto's should be aware that it can be genetic and should alert their doctor. Those who have an autoimmune diseases such as lupus are also at a higher risk to develop this disorder.
There is no cure for Hashimoto's disease. There are two treatment plans for those who suffer from this condition. If the disorder hasn't progressed too much, the doctor may suggest waiting to watch the progression of the condition before starting medication. However, once a medication regimen has started, the patient will always be on medicine to control the symptoms of the disorder. Some people may find they are good candidates for a hormone replacement treatment that has shown promise and results for certain patients.
A diagnosis of Hashimoto's disease can be intimidating. Once the mystery of the condition has been dispelled and a treatment course has been decided upon, many patients find they can have a fairly healthy life. Middle aged women should be especially alert, but it is important to remember that Hashimoto's can happen to anyone at any age. If you are showing symptoms and may need to see a doctor, click here for more information.