Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

What is Hashimoto's thyroiditis?

Hashimoto's thyroiditis, also called Hashimoto's disease or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of your thyroid gland. With an autoimmune disease, your body's immune system mistakenly attacks your own body tissues the way it would normally attack invading germs.

If you have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, the immune system attacks the thyroid, making it unable to release enough hormones. This can then cause hypothyroidism. Symptoms of Hashimoto's disease are often the same as those for hypothyroidism and commonly include:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Depression
  • Increased sensitivity to cold

For some people, the immune system's attack on the thyroid can cause it to initially overcompensate with thyroid hormones and become overactive (hyperthyroidism) before slowing down. When this happens, it's called Hashitoxicosis. Hyperthyroidism can cause weight loss, sweating, anxiety and a rapid heart rate.

Some people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis may also notice a lump in the front of the neck, called a goiter.

Diagnosis and testing for Hashimoto's disease

If you think you might have Hashimoto's thyroiditis, talk to your doctor about your symptoms. You'll need a physical exam, including an exam of your neck. You'll also need a blood test to determine whether your thyroid is working properly.


Endocrinology and Metabolism

When hormones are out of balance, you can experience a wide range of problems. Main Line Health endocrinologists can help assess your needs and provide care for any endocrinology and metabolism conditions.