Health Encyclopedia

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a condition that can cause an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). It is also called Hashimoto's disease or chronic autoimmune thyroiditis. Hashimoto's thyroiditis develops when the body's natural defense system (immune system) makes antibodies that attack and over time destroy the thyroid gland.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most common form of autoimmune thyroid disease. It occurs most often in women and older adults. The disease usually does not cause any pain and often goes unnoticed for years.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is linked with other conditions, including type 1 diabetes, Addison's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, and premature menopause.

Treatment may be needed if symptoms of low thyroid production (hypothyroidism) occur or if the thyroid gland becomes inflamed and enlarged. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland include fatigue, thinning hair, dry skin, and brittle nails. If the disease does not cause these problems, treatment may not be needed.

Last Revised: August 7, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2013 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

USNWR 2013-2014Magnet Hospital RecognitionConsumer Choice2014 Best DoctorsJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.