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Hashimoto's Syndrome (Thyroiditis): Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Hashimoto's syndrome, better known by the name of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease, i.e. caused by the fighting of antibodies against the body's own thyroid. This disease is characterized by the inflammation of the thyroid gland that produces a lump at the neck, called a goiter.


The cause of Hashimoto's syndrome is the presence of blood antibodies that attack the thyroid cells. They attack thyroid peroxidase, an enzyme used in the production of thyroid hormones and, to a lesser extent, thyroglobulin, where they are created. Thus, the production of these hormones is disrupted and results in a decrease of the functions dependent on them, resulting in hypothyroidism.


Symptoms of Hashimoto's Syndrome are those of hypothyroidism, including: a goiter in the neck; weight gain; a swollen face; an increase in the size of the fingers; dryness of the skin with a reduction of sweating; frequent constipation; muscle pain; a slow heartbeat; a decrease in blood pressure; alteration or interruption of periods; fragile and brittle nails; a general state of fatigue; and depressive symptoms.


The diagnosis of Hashimoto's syndrome is simple and the diagnosis is confirmed by a TSH blood test — when it is increased, it is a sign of hypothyroidism. The antibody levels in the blood confirm the diagnosis, often associated with a thyroid ultrasound. Thyroid scintigraphy or biopsy have no practical interest.


The treatment of Hashimoto's Syndrome is hormonal. It involves the administration of thyroid hormones to make up for the deficit. The cause of the disease being immune, this treatment will be taken for life by the patient.


Hashimoto's syndrome is hereditary; there is no way to prevent it.

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