Hashimoto’s Disease, or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease affecting the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck that produces hormones vital to normal body function. Here at the Center for Advanced Head & Neck Surgery, Babak Larian, MD, FACS, and his team have an expert knowledge of thyroid conditions, as well as the cutting-edge treatments to care for them.
What Are the Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease?
In a patient with Hashimoto’s Disease, their immune system is producing antibodies that are essentially attacking the thyroid gland. As the disease progresses, Hashimoto’s will eventually lead to hypothyroidism, when the thyroid does not produce enough of the essential thyroid hormones.
It is quite common for patients with Hashimoto’s to not realize they have it. In the early stages, symptoms are often not noticeable, are easily attributed to other conditions, or may not be present at all. Over time, though, Hashimoto’s can lead to chronic thyroid damage and thyroid function will slow down.
Once Hashimoto’s progresses to hypothyroidism, some common signs and symptoms of the disorder can include:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Dry, pale skin
- Muscle aches & weakness
- Sensitivity to cold
How is it Diagnosed?
If your doctor thinks your symptoms are indicative of Hashimoto’s Disease, he or she will likely order simple blood tests to check the level of thyroid hormone and TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) in your blood. In patients with hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s, the thyroid hormone level is typically low while the TSH level is high.
Hashimoto’s can also be detected in the early stages by an antibody test (thyroid per oxidase antibody). Even if the disease is not yet affecting the thyroid hormone levels, an antibody blood test may reveal an elevated level of thyroid antibodies.
What Are My Treatment Options?
In the early stages of Hashimoto’s, before the disease has caused the thyroid hormone levels to drop, your doctor, typically an endocrinologist, may simply want to keep a close eye on your thyroid function. When the disease does begin to disrupt normal thyroid function, it is important to discuss with your doctor the best treatment options. People who have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are at increased risk of developing thyroid cancer.
Many patients with hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s Disease are placed on medication to regulate their thyroid hormones and thyroid function can be maintained comfortably. Left untreated, however, hypothyroidism can lead to an enlarged thyroid, or goiter.
Patients with a goiter often experience painful swallowing and have difficulty breathing because of the pressure the enlarged thyroid places on the trachea and esophagus. If you are experiencing uncomfortable or painful symptoms caused by goiter, it is important that you visit an experienced head and neck surgeon. Surgical removal of a painful goiter, performed by a board-certified head and neck surgeon like Babak Larian, MD, FACS, is a minimally invasive procedure that can greatly improve a patient’s quality of life.
Contact Dr. Babak Larian Today
Suffering from Hashimoto’s Disease can cause a significant amount of damage to your thyroid. At the CENTER for Advanced Head & Neck Surgery in Los Angeles, Dr. Larian aims to provide his patients with the best service and care possible by presenting your needs with a solution. To learn more about Hashimoto’s Disease, hypothyroidism, and goiter, please contact Dr. Larian today by calling 310.461.0300 to schedule your initial consultation. Dr. Larian is an experienced head and neck surgeon with the proper knowledge and understanding of treating thyroid conditions with cutting-edge techniques.