18 Common Symptoms Of Hashimoto's Disease, And Who Is More Likely To Be Affected By It

Date May 9, 2018 17:19

Hashimoto's disease is one of the most common disorders affecting the thyroid. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, as many as 1 in 20 people (most of them are women) may be affected by Hashimoto's.

In Hashimoto's disease, the body's own immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to produce less hormones than your body needs. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, and if your body isn't making enough of them, a wide range of symptoms starts to appear. These symptoms, such as weight gain and unexplained tiredness, are often non-specific, and that may make Hashimoto's disease difficult to diagnose.

Below, we list several common symptoms of Hashimoto's and a few factors that make you more likely to develop the disease.

READ ALSO: 5 Warning Signs And Symptoms Of Goiter, An Abnormal Swelling Of The Thyroid

Common symptoms of Hashimoto's disease

Hashimoto's disease progresses gradually, and there may be no symptoms at the start. But as the disease gets worse, the following symptoms may appear:

  • goiter, an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid, which causes your neck to look swollen;
  • feeling unusually weak and tired, even if you're getting enough sleep;
  • daytime drowsiness;
  • unexplained weight gain and difficulty losing the weight you've gained;
  • aches and pains in the joints and muscles throughout your body;
  • increased sensitivity to cold, and feeling cold even if the temperature in your environment is normal;
  • brittle, thinning hair;
  • weak and brittle nails;
  • dry skin;
  • decreased ability to concentrate and remember, and difficulty gathering your thoughts, known as "brain fog";
  • irregular and/or heavy periods;
  • difficulty getting pregnant;
  • depression, mood swings;
  • constipation;
  • slow heart rate;
  • sweating less;
  • pale face;
  • swelling in the hands, feet, or face due to fluid retention.

Someone with Hashimoto's won't necessarily have all of these symptoms; and symptoms that are present may range in severity, depending on the degree of the damage to the thyroid.

READ ALSO: 7 Natural Ways To Improve Thyroid Function If You Have A Thyroid Disorder

Who is at a higher risk of developing Hashimoto's disease?

Women are at least 8 times more likely to develop Hashimoto's than men are. The disease often starts to show between ages 40 to 60, although adolescents and younger adults may also develop it.

In addition to gender and age, other factors that can increase your risk of Hashimoto's include the following:

  • having a close blood relative with Hashimoto's or other autoimmune diseases;
  • a personal history of autoimmune disease;
  • radiation exposure.

What will happen if I get diagnosed with Hashimoto's disease?

If you are diagnosed with Hashimoto's, your doctor will put you on thyroid hormone replacement therapy (which involves taking a synthetic form of thyroxine) if your thyroid is too damaged to produce enough hormones. Once you start treatment, your symptoms will gradually improve.

In addition to that, you'll have to make certain changes in your diet. Your doctor will determine the amount of iodine you need, as too much or too little of this mineral can hurt the thyroid, especially if it's already damaged. If you are a fan of seaweed, you'll likely have to stop eating the kinds that are too high in iodine.

Source: NIDDK, EMedicineHealth, WebMD, MedicineNet

READ ALSO: What Are Autoimmune Diseases, And What Is It Like To Live With Them?

This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for any harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.