Hashimoto's disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism affecting nearly 20 million Americans. It is a condition where the immune system attacks the thyroid gland causing inflammation known as chronic lymphocytic thyroidits. Patients with Hashimoto's disease have antibodies in their blood known as thyroid peroxidase antibodies and/or thyroglobulin antibodies.
Treatment of Hashimoto's disease must be individualized for each patient. There are a variety of options available for treating hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Treatment of hypothyroidism means replacing missing thyroid hormone(s) and monitoring with blood tests and symptoms. Treatment options for hypothyroidism include:
- Branded levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levoxyl, Tirosint)
- Generic levothyroxine
- Desiccated Porcine Thyroid (Armour, Nature-Throid, WP Thyroid, custom compounded products)
- Compounded Thyroid hormone (T4 with or without T3 or sustained-release T3)
- Cytomel (Liothyronine)
There is no "one size fits all" treatment. Discuss your options with your physician. Each time your thyroid medication is changed it takes 6-8 weeks for your hormone levels to stabilize. Most endocrinologists will order thyroid blood tests at this time interval and make dose adjustments based on both your symptoms and your hormone levels. Many patients have symptoms despite normal thyroid blood tests, therefore, your physician may change your medication even if your blood tests are normal.
See Your Physician
If you have a thyroid problem, it is important to see your physician regularly. It's vital to keep your thyroid hormone levels in the normal range. Too much or too little can cause symptoms and can lead to long term problems including weight gain, depression, heart disease and bone loss. Having Hashimoto's disease increases your risk for a variety of autoimmune conditions including:
- Addison's Disease (Underactive Adrenal Gland)
- Vitamin B12 Deficiency (Pernicious Anemia)
- Premature Menopause
- Low Testosterone (men)
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Autoimmune Hepatitis
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Many other conditions...