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Hashimoto's Disease

An autoimmune condition of the thyroid gland (a gland located beneath the larynx).

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Hashimoto's Disease

Hashimoto's disease, also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis or autoimmune thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease is a disorder in which the body's immune system attacks the body's own cells and organs. Normally, the immune system protects the body from infection by identifying and destroying bacteria, viruses, and other potentially harmful foreign substances.

In Hashimoto's disease, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing inflammation and interfering with its ability to produce thyroid hormones. Large numbers of white blood cells called lymphocytes accumulate in the thyroid. Lymphocytes make the antibodies that start the autoimmune process.

Hashimoto's disease often leads to reduced thyroid function, or hypothyroidism....Read more about Hashimoto's Disease NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Selenium supplementation for Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a common disease in which a form of chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland results in reduced function of the gland. It is an auto‐immune disorder, which means that a person's own immune system attacks the thyroid gland, so that it no longer makes adequate quantities of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). Common clinical manifestations include feeling cold, depressive mood, dry skin, puffy eyes, constipation, weight gain, slowed heart rate, joint and muscle pain and fatigue. Some but not all people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis have an enlarged gland, also called a goitre. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is more common in women than in men and tends to run in families. Other auto‐immune diseases often occur simultaneously, such as vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes type 1. The disease does not always require treatment, but when it does, it is treated with synthetic thyroid hormone replacement (sometimes desiccated thyroid hormone is used, which is not synthetic). Selenium is an essential trace element that is required in small amounts for correct functioning of the immune system and the thyroid gland.

CD40 C/T-1 polymorphism plays different roles in Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis: a meta-analysis

CD40 plays a pathogenic role in various autoimmune diseases. However, studies investigating the association between CD40 C/T-1 polymorphism and autoimmune thyroid diseases risk have reported conflicting results and their relative population effect remains unclear; therefore, a meta-analysis was conducted. The data for this meta-analysis included 14 (4214 cases and 3851 controls) and 4 studies (623 cases and 774 controls) for the association of the CD40 C/T-1 polymorphism with Graves' disease (GD) and Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT), respectively. Results suggested significant association for CD40 C/T-1 polymorphism (odds ratio 1.267 per C allele, p = 0.000) with GD but without HT. The individuals who carried the C/C or C/T genotype have significantly increased GD risk compared with those who carried T/T genotype (C/C vs. T/T: OR = 1.596, 95% CI, 1.256~2.028; C/T vs. T/T: OR = 1.210, 95% CI, 1.032~1.419; dominant model: OR = 1.366, 95% CI, 1.175~1.587; recessive model: OR = 1.322, 95% CI, 1.147~1.523), while no association was observed in HT. When stratified by ethnicity, the significant association between polymorphism and GD risk of Caucasians was found only in recessive models; but that of Asians was found in all models. In the subgroup analysis of study design, we found thyroid antibody status should be ascertained in controls and euthyroidism subjects with higher levels of thyroid antibody should be excluded from control and included into HT to avoid bias. Our meta-analysis showed that CD40 C/T-1 polymorphism plays different roles in GD and HT. Further studies will be needed to confirm our findings.

The CTLA4 +49A/G polymorphism is associated with an increased risk of Hashimoto's thyroiditis in Asian but not Caucasian populations: an updated meta-analysis

The polymorphism +49A/G in the cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) gene has been implicated in susceptibility to Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT), but the findings are not clear-cut. This study aimed to investigate the association between CTLA-4 polymorphisms and HT risk using an updated meta-analysis. A meta-analysis was carried out of 14 previous studies that investigated the CTLA-4 +49A/G polymorphism and HT risk. +49A/G was associated with a significantly increased HT risk in both allele analysis and all genetic models (allele analysis: G vs. A: P < 0.001, OR = 1.379, 95 % CI = 1.244-1.529). Subgroup analysis by ethnicity showed a significantly increased HT risk with the G allele and all other genetic models in the Asian subgroup (P < 0.001). In the Caucasian subgroup, no significant association was detected between the CTLA-4 +49 G allele and HT, or in the genetic model analysis (P = 0.05). This gene-based analysis indicates that the cumulative effect of the +49A/G polymorphism in CTLA-4 is associated with HT in Asians, but appears to have no effect on HT in Caucasians.

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Summaries for consumers

Selenium supplementation for Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a common disease in which a form of chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland results in reduced function of the gland. It is an auto‐immune disorder, which means that a person's own immune system attacks the thyroid gland, so that it no longer makes adequate quantities of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism). Common clinical manifestations include feeling cold, depressive mood, dry skin, puffy eyes, constipation, weight gain, slowed heart rate, joint and muscle pain and fatigue. Some but not all people with Hashimoto's thyroiditis have an enlarged gland, also called a goitre. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is more common in women than in men and tends to run in families. Other auto‐immune diseases often occur simultaneously, such as vitiligo, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes type 1. The disease does not always require treatment, but when it does, it is treated with synthetic thyroid hormone replacement (sometimes desiccated thyroid hormone is used, which is not synthetic). Selenium is an essential trace element that is required in small amounts for correct functioning of the immune system and the thyroid gland.

Underactive thyroid: Overview

If you suddenly start feeling tired and listless all the time and notice a slow pulse and constipation, you may wonder what the cause might be. These kinds of symptoms can have any number of causes, but they are typical of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism). A blood test can tell you for sure whether you have it.

How does the thyroid work?

The thyroid is a vitally important hormonal gland that regulates metabolism and growth in the body. The thyroid hormones T3 and T4 increase the basal metabolic rate. In other words, they make the body cells work harder, using more energy. If more energy is needed for metabolic processes in the body – for instance for growth, when it is cold, or during pregnancy – more hormones are produced and transported into the blood.

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Terms to know

Autoimmune Disease
Disease that results when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body's own tissues. Examples include multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and systemic lupus erythematosus.
Chronic
Refers to disorders that last a long time, often years. Chronic is the opposite of acute, or brief.
Thyroid Gland
A gland located beneath the larynx (voice box) that makes thyroid hormone and calcitonin. The thyroid helps regulate growth and metabolism. Also called thyroid gland.
Thyroid Hormones
A hormone that affects heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and weight. Thyroid hormone is made by the thyroid gland and can also be made in the laboratory.
Thyroiditis
Inflammation of the thyroid gland.
Voice Box (Larynx)
The area of the throat containing the vocal cords and used for breathing, swallowing, and talking. Also called voice box.

More about Hashimoto's Disease

Photo of an adult woman

Also called: Autoimmune lymphocytic chronic thyroiditis, Autoimmune thyroiditis, Chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, Hashimoto thyroiditis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, Lymphocytic thyroiditis, Struma lymphomatosa, Struma lymphomatosis

See Also: Hypothyroidism

Other terms to know: See all 6
Autoimmune Disease, Chronic, Thyroid Gland

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