Video:What Is Hashimoto's Disease?with Dr. Bob Lahita
Hashimoto's Disease is an inflammation of the thyroid as a result of an immune attack on the thyroid. Learn about Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and how to recognize it in this health video from About.com.See Transcript
Transcript:What Is Hashimoto's Disease?
Hi I'm Dr. Bob Lahita, Chairman of Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Professor of Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The segment that we're going to talk about here is: What is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?
What is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?
Hashimoto's disease, or thyroiditis really is an inflammation of the thyroid as a result of an immune attack on the thyroid. The immune system can attack virtually any organ of the body, but one of the most common organs to become a target for the immune system - for reasons that are really not very clear - is the thyroid gland.
There are two basic tests that your doctor gets when he looks for Hashimoto's disease: he gets an anti-thyroid peroxidase antibody level or he gets an anti-thyroglobulin antibody level. If both of those, or one of those tests is highly elevated, it means that you have Hashimoto's thyroiditis - and by the way, it was named after Dr. Hashimoto from Japan.
What are Symptoms of Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?
Now usually in about 95% of the cases, Hashimoto's results in an underactive thyroid, or hypo-thyroidism. Sometimes it doesn't produce a low thyroid function, which equates with something called a high TSH, explained in another segment. But when it does affect the thyroid, it can cause tenderness of the thyroid gland which is located here in your neck, and Hashimoto's can be quite severe. Aside from neck tenderness in some, the vast majority of patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis are asymptomatic - that means you have no signs or symptoms.
But in those that do have severe inflammation of the thyroid, the general and most disheartening symptom is a weight gain, and you feel sluggish, and you get constipated: those are all the effects of an underactive thyroid.
In a very small percentage of patients that have Hashimoto's antibody, there's something called hashitoxicosis, which means that the thyroid becomes overactive. But this is very rare, and I must say that we rarely see it: I have seen only one case over many, many years. So Hashimoto's thyroiditis, again, is an auto-immune attack on the thyroid gland which usually results in underactivity and requires medication.
For more information on this go to About.com.