Did you know that only 1-2% of people in the United States develop Hashimoto’s disease? In comparison, almost 5 out of 100 12 years old and above Americans have hypothyroidism.
However, what are Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism? How do you know which among the two you’re likely to develop or already have?
To make it easy, we’ve compared Hashimoto’s disease vs hypothyroidism for you. So read on to find out the answer!
Hashimoto’s Disease vs Hypothyroidism: Facts About Hashimoto’s Disease
What is Hashimoto’s disease, and how is it different from hypothyroidism? For one, Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease.
This is a condition whereby your immune system is attacking your thyroid. The thyroid is the small gland below your Adam’s apple. This handles producing hormones that help your body function well.
Hashimoto’s disease shows up many years before you start showing symptoms. Thus, if you have this, you likely cultivated an environment causing the disease for years. Often, people with Hashimoto’s disease started producing antibodies eight years before the first symptom appeared.
Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. It primarily affects middle-aged women but can also occur in men and women of any age and children.
What are some of Hashimoto’s disease symptoms? Goiter is one of the most common physical manifestations of the disease. Goiter causes the front of your neck to appear swollen.
Other symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, enlarged tongue, and muscle aches or stiffness. It also causes unexplained weight gain, prolonged menstruation, and muscle weaknesses. Puffy face and increased sensitivity to cold are also some symptoms of the condition.
Causes of Hashimoto’s Disease
As we’ve said, Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder. There’s no accurate reason why the immune system creates antibodies that damage the thyroid gland.
However, some scientists speculate that a bacteria or virus might have triggered this. On the other hand, some believe that genes play a factor in the development of Hashimoto’s disease. This means that you’re likely to develop the disease if your family has a history of autoimmune disease.
Who Are at Risk?
Women are also generally thought to be more prone to the disease. However, when it comes to age, individuals in the middle ages are more at risk. This is especially so for those with type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus.
When left untreated, Hashimoto’s disease can lead to complications in the heart. In addition, babies of women with hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s disease can have congenital disabilities. Individuals with Hashimoto’s disease might also develop depression or, worse — myxedema.
Fortunately, there are available treatments that can help you fix your hashimotos disease. However, treatment depends on your situation.
It may be a series of observations or medications. Let’s dwell more into these in the section below!
How to Treat Hashimoto’s Disease?
The wait-and-see approach is commonly applied to cases with no evidence of any hormone deficiency. Or when your thyroid seems to be functioning normally. However, in cases where you’ll need medication, expect that you’ll need it for life.
What about when your Hashimoto’s disease is causing thyroid hormone deficiency? Chances are, your doctor will recommend that you undergo replacement therapy. Replacement therapy of thyroid hormones requires you to use synthetic hormones every day.
The most common synthetic thyroid hormone is synthetic Levothyroxine. This is identical to the natural hormone that your thyroid gland produces called thyroxine.
This medication aims to restore your hormone levels. It also reverses the symptoms of hypothyroidism.
While Levothyroxine is the standard treatment for Hashimoto’s disease, extracts are also available. These extracts contain thyroid hormones taken from a pig’s thyroid gland.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Which between Hashimoto’s disease vs hypothyroidism do you have? For starters, while Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease, hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when your thyroid gland doesn’t create enough thyroid hormone for your body to function correctly.
This is also known as an underactive thyroid. Often, hypothyroidism is a result of having Hashimoto’s disease.
However, this condition is not solely caused by Hashimoto’s disease. There can be several causes, including hyperthyroidism treatments or thyroid surgery.
Medications such as lithium, commonly used to treat psychiatric disorders, may also lead to the thyroid gland. As such, it’s always best to ask your doctor how your medicine will affect your thyroid gland. Of course, other factors such as genetics, excessive iodine, and radiation exposure also contribute.
Symptoms for hypothyroidism vary from one person to another, depending on the severity. It can also take years before you notice signs of hypothyroidism. Most even mistake symptoms such as fatigue and weight gain to simply getting older.
More apparent symptoms show when your metabolism slows down. Only then can you notice evident problems such as goiter and constipation. Puffy face, slow heart rate, or irregular periods may also result from hypothyroidism.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease are identical. Thus it’s easy to mistake one for the other.
This is why to surely know which among the two you have, visit an expert. Undergo a comprehensive thyroid panel if you want to confirm if you have hypothyroidism.
Like Hashimoto’s disease, the standard treatment for hypothyroidism involves the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine. This treatment will gradually lower your cholesterol levels that the disease elevated. As a result, the medication can reverse your weight gain.
It’s best to take Levothyroxine on an empty stomach every day. Wait for an hour after taking the hormone in the morning before you drink your other medication.
If you prefer to take the hormone at night, take it four hours after your last meal. Should you miss a dose today, you can take two pills the following day.
The key to this treatment relies on your ability to absorb Levothyroxine. Supplements with iron, aluminum hydroxide, and calcium can affect how you absorb Levothyroxine. You should also be careful of high-fiber food and soy products.
Learn the Differences Here!
Hoorah! You can now determine the differences between Hashimoto’s disease vs hypothyroidism. So take your educational but fun experience to the next level with us!
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