Our thyroid plays a vital role in our everyday life and wellbeing. When this endocrine gland is compromised by disease or injury, the affected person can suffer from serious and debilitating effects that compromise both personal and professional life. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is among the leading causes of hypothyroidism in the United States, with women in particular having a higher likelihood of suffering from the condition.
While the causes of Hashimoto’s are not fully understood, its effects have become well known. Thankfully, effective treatments have also been designed, allowing for a return to health for the many people impacted by this autoimmune disease.
Understanding Hashimoto’s Effects
Suffering from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis involves antibodies directly attacking the thyroid gland, resulting in serious gland damage. As a result, the thyroid gland can function abnormally, preventing production of sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones. When this occurs it is known as hypothyroidism.
Most people suffering from Hashimoto’s will experience fatigue, weight gain, aching muscles, joint discomfort, thinning hair, cold sensitivity, dry skin, and irregular menstrual periods. With such a wide range of symptoms, it can be difficult for Hashimoto’s to be diagnosed, leading to extended periods ofdamage and physical limitation. After a diagnosis, it is vital that a patient undergoes effective treatment as soon as possible to prevent further damage and begin the road to recovery.
Finding a Permanent Solution to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
While Hashimoto’s that has not advanced to hypothyroidism does not typically require extensive treatment, a large portion of people with the condition will suffer from its effects at some point. In order to cope with a low amount of thyroid hormone, most patients will regularly take hormone replacement medication. However, this does not put an end to the disease; it only copes with its effects.
A large number of patients go undiagnosed until they are either symptomatic from a low thyroid hormone level or when the thyroid grows to be big enough to be visible. The gland can become so large that it can push on adjacent structured causing breathing and swallowing issues. The incidence of thyroid cancer is also increased in in patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
While thyroid hormone replacement is the mainstay of treatment, regular neck ultrasounds is also done to monitor the size and development of nodules in the gland. Thyroidectomy or removal of the thyroid gland is necessary when either the gland becomes large enough to cause symptoms or when a cancer develops in the gland.
During a thyroidectomy, the surgeon will remove the thyroid gland through a minimally invasive procedure. By removing the enlarged gland, the pressure symptoms will subside. If a cancer is present it is also removed in the same way. While loss of the thyroid gland can have an impact on the body, regular medications and hormone replacement therapy can provide the hormones that were blocked by Hashimoto’s in the first place.
Get in Touch with Top Thyroid Surgeons
At the Thyroid Surgery Center of Excellence, our team of experienced thyroid surgeons understands the serious effects of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. If you or a loved one is suffering from the consequences of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, thyroid surgery may be the only means of helping them. To learn more about how we can help you, schedule an appointment with an experienced member of our medical team by calling 888.317.1439 today.