Hashimoto’s disease is when the immune system attacks your thyroid, which can lead to an underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism
. Hashimoto’s disease affects about 5% of the population in the US and is 8 times more likely to be found in women than in men. Thyroid hormones
are critical because they control the way your body uses energy, so a reduced amount of these hormones would have an effect on many bodily functions such as high cholesterol levels and cardiovascular
In some rare and severe cases, hypothyroidism leads to a myxedema coma, which is essentially when the body functions slow down to the point where it becomes life-threatening. Hashimoto’s disease
usually doesn’t show symptoms early on, however as the disease progresses the thyroid becomes larger which can make your neck look swollen. The enlarged thyroid can feel like your throat is full and is typically not painful. The hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s disease tends to have relatively mild symptoms like depression, tiredness, weight gain, memory issues, thinning hair, and joint/muscle pain. Treatment for people with Hashimoto’s disease usually depends on whether or not they have hypothyroidism. Usually, doctors will monitor people’s disease if they don’t have hypothyroidism and if they do they may prescribe levothyroxine which is a hormone identical to the one your thyroid produces.