Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Hashimoto’ disease is the autoimmune disease of thyroid gland characterized by excess production of antibodies that destroy the proteins of the gland resulting in the underactive thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s disease is the commonest cause of hypothyroidism. The causes of Hashimoto’s disease can be genetic or acquired. It can lead to hypothyroidism. The symptoms of Hashimoto's disease are depression, dry and itchy skin, brittle hair, impairment of temperature sensation, tiredness and difficulty in concentration. If Hashimoto’ disease is not managed properly, it may trigger hypothyroidism and thyroid damage over the span of years resulting in organ damage and severe illness.

Is Hashimoto's Disease Fatal?

Is Hashimoto's Disease Fatal?

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease characterized by the attack of immune system on the thyroid gland. It is marked by the excess production of antibodies named thyroid peroxidase (TPO) that can lead the destruction of the thyroid proteins thyroglobulin.

Large quantities of lymphocytes get to build in the thyroid gland as a part of an attack of the immune system and they release increased quantities of antibodies. With the destruction of the thyroid hormones, thyroid gland get damaged. Thus, the function of the thyroid gland becomes sluggish and metabolism is hampered due to insufficient secretion of the thyroid hormones.

Hashimoto disease is one of the main common causes of hypothyroidism. Initially, it does not represent any noticeable symptom. As the there is progress in the disease, thyroid gland gets larger and neck appears swollen with the feeling of fullness in the neck. Over the years of damage of thyroid gland, it induces hypothyroidism. With constantly lowered thyroid hormones, cholesterol level in the body increases leading to the heart diseases.

The Symptoms Of Hashimoto’s Disease Are As Follows:

  • The feeling of too cold
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in face and feet
  • Dry rough hair with hair loss
  • Dry rough skin
  • Hoarseness, changes in the voice
  • Sudden weight gain
  • A rise in cholesterol levels
  • Stiffness and pain in the joints especially of hands, knees, and feet
  • Depression
  • Heavy menstrual flow
  • Enlarged thyroid glands

The causes of Hashimoto’s disease can be genetic or acquired. The exact cause of exaggerated immune system is not known. Some genetic or environmental factors trigger the disease. It usually runs in families.

If Hashimoto’s disease is not treated in time, it can result in damage to many organs and serious illness.

The Complications Of Untreated Hashimoto’s Disease Are As Follows:

Emotional Issues- Reduction in thyroid levels elevate the chances of depression and libido problems such as decreased sexual urge.

Goiter- The thyroid gets enlarged due to improper production of thyroid hormones. This enlarged thyroid gland is termed as goiter. It often interferes with breathing swallowing with a feeling of fullness in the throat.

Congenital Defects- Untreated Hashimoto’s disease during a pregnancy can cause birth defects in the unborn baby like heart, kidney or brain malformations or cleft palate.

Myxedema- It is a serious form of hypothyroidism that becomes fatal in severe cases. It is characterized by symptoms like unnatural sleepiness, extreme sensitivity to cold temperatures and coma.

Heart Diseases- Low levels of thyroid hormones can lead to the rise in cholesterol levels (LDL). This increases the chances of heart diseases and risk of heart attacks. Sometimes, Hashimoto disease can trigger cardiac conditions like enlargement of heart or heart failure.

Hashimoto disease becomes fatal when it progresses to heart diseases and Myxedema as discussed above over the span of years. The neglected cases of Hashimoto's disease during pregnancy may lead to miscarriages, congenital defects in the unborn child and even death of the unborn child.

Conclusion

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease in which body’s hyperactive immune system attacks its own tissues of the thyroid gland. It is the one of the main cause of hypothyroidism. If it is not treated well or neglected, it leads to a number of complications discussed above. It becomes fatal if it proceeds to heart diseases and Myxedema resulting in cardiac failures, cardiac attack, and coma.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: August 16, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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