What are the symptoms of autoimmune thyroid diseases?

In many cases, autoimmune thyroid diseases may be symptomless. Symptoms of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis are related to low levels of thyroid hormones, which can slow metabolism and affect many body systems.

Common symptoms of autoimmune thyroid diseases

You may experience autoimmune thyroid diseases symptoms daily or just once in a while, if at all. At times, any of these symptoms may be severe:

  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Fatigue
  • Goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland)
  • Hair loss
  • Joint stiffness
  • Missed menstrual periods
  • Unexplained weight gain

Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition

In some cases, autoimmune thyroid diseases can be serious and should be evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care if you, or someone you are with, have any of these serious symptoms including:

  • Depression
  • Facial swelling
  • Unexplained weight gain
INTRODUCTION

What are autoimmune thyroid diseases?

Autoimmune thyroid diseases, such as autoimmune thyroiditis, which is also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, are conditions in which the immune system attacks the body’s own thyroid gland. The thyroid gland, which is a small gland at the front of the neck, becomes chronically inflamed and decreases production of the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine and thyrox... Read more about autoimmune thyroid diseasesintroduction

CAUSES

What causes autoimmune thyroid diseases?

Autoimmune thyroid diseases arise when the body attacks its own thyroid gland. When the immune system develops antibodies to thyroid tissue, it treats the thyroid gland as an invader of the body. This causes inflammation of the thyroid gland, which can destroy thyroid tissue over time. The thyroid is responsible for creating two hormones, triiodothyronine and thyroxine. Low levels of these horm... Read more about autoimmune thyroid diseasescauses

TREATMENTS

How are autoimmune thyroid diseases treated?

Often, autoimmune thyroid diseases can be symptomless or may not require medical treatment. In cases in which symptoms become bothersome, autoimmune thyroiditis may be treated with a synthetic thyroid hormone, such as levothyroxine (Levoxyl, Synthroid). In some cases, autoimmune thyroid disease symptoms, such as goiter, may... Read more about autoimmune thyroid diseasestreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Allergies and the Immune System