Valdosta Specialty Clinic
Rheumatology & Endocrinology located in Valdosta, GA
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, or Hashimoto’s disease, affects 14 million Americans today. This autoimmune disorder commonly causes problems like weight gain, chronic fatigue, and joint pain, along with many other uncomfortable issues. At Valdosta Specialty Clinic, the expert autoimmune disorder specialists offer personalized therapy to restore your thyroid levels so you can become comfortable again. Contact the Valdosta, Georgia, office or schedule an appointment online today.
Hashimoto's Disease Q&A
What is Hashimoto's disease?
Hashimoto's disease is an illness where your immune system attacks your thyroid gland. While it's a tiny gland, it makes hormones that are crucial for bodily function.
Hashimoto's disease is by far the most common cause of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid gland).
What are the symptoms of Hashimoto's disease?
In some cases, you may have thyroid enlargement (a goiter), which causes swelling in your throat and neck areas. Hashimoto's disease can develop slowly, so you may not experience symptoms until your condition progresses to hypothyroidism.
Common symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease include:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Feeling cold frequently
- Slow heart rate
- Dry skin
- Thinning hair
- Facial puffiness
- Weak nails
- Joint pain
- Muscle pain
- Menstrual irregularities, like heavy or prolonged periods
- Foggy memory
Some of these symptoms can also occur in other diseases, such as fibromyalgia, so it's vital to visit Valdosta Specialty Clinic for an accurate diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.
How is Hashimoto’s disease diagnosed?
Diagnosis typically involves a physical exam, symptom assessment, and blood tests. These blood tests check your thyroid-stimulating hormone, thyroid hormone, and thyroid antibodies for the telltale signs of Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism. Sometimes, you may need an imaging test of the neck area.
How is Hashimoto's disease treated?
Your treatment plan typically depends on whether your Hashimoto's disease has progressed to hypothyroidism. If you catch Hashimoto's disease early, you may only need thyroid hormone and symptom monitoring before you develop hypothyroidism.
If you have hypothyroidism, treatment involves taking levothyroxine or a similar drug to replace your missing T4 hormone. However, it may take a while to find the ideal dose of hormone medication.
Around 6-8 weeks after starting thyroid hormone replacement therapy, you’ll have blood tests to check your T4 levels. If your symptoms fade by that time, your endocrinologist may keep the dosage stable. If not, they may increase your dosage until your symptoms improve.
Once your symptoms improve, it's essential to continue with the dosage that works for you. Excessive T4 could potentially cause complications like osteoporosis, so always check with your Valdosta Specialty Clinic endocrinologist before making any changes.
Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism may seem intimidating or even scary, but with the care of the premier medical experts at Valdosta Specialty Clinic, you can control symptoms and live healthily. Call the office or schedule an appointment online today.
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