Hashimoto's thyroiditis can affect quality of life

February 25, 2011
Thyroid, the official journal of the American Thyroid Association (www.thyroid.org) is an authoritative peer-reviewed journal published monthly in print and online. The Journal publishes original articles and timely reviews that reflect the rapidly advancing changes in our understanding of thyroid physiology and pathology, from the molecular biology of the cell to clinical management of thyroid disorders. Complete tables of content and a free sample issue may be viewed online at www.liebertpub.com/thy. Credit: © Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. publishers

Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT), an inflammatory disorder of the thyroid, is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, but a study has suggested that even when thyroid function is normal, HT may increase symptoms and decrease quality of life, as described in an article in Thyroid, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Thyroid is the Official Journal of the American Thyroid Association (ATA).

Hashimoto's thyroiditis most commonly affects middle-aged women and is associated with an array of symptoms that include , dry hair, chronic irritability, difficulty concentrating, constipation, and chronic nervousness. Affected patients tend to report decreased quality of life. HT is an autoimmune disorder in which the body produces an antibody that attacks the resulting in inflammation, and often decreased ().

Johannes Ott and colleagues from Kaiserin Elisabeth Spital and Medical University of Vienna, Austria, report that women with higher levels of anti-thyroid antibody had a significantly higher number of symptoms, even though their levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)—a measure of thyroid function—did not differ from TSH levels measured in women with lower antibody levels. In the article, "Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Affects Symptom Load and Quality of Life Unrelated to Hypothyroidism: A Prospective Case-Control Study in Women Undergoing Thyroidectomy for Benign Goiter," the authors conclude that hypothyroidism is only one factor contributing to HT symptoms.

"This study raises important clinical issues. Although the authors did not study thyroid hormone treatment for Hashimoto's thyroiditis, it raises the possibility that optimal doses of thyroid hormone will not completely ameliorate all symptoms. Further studies are required to confirm the findings of Ott et al. and to determine if patients with hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto's thyroiditis still have residual symptoms despite achieving an ideal biochemical response to thyroid hormone replacement therapy," says Charles H. Emerson, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Thyroid and Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, in Worcester.

More information: The article is available free online at www.liebertpub.com/thy

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drahaskell
not rated yet Feb 26, 2011
One statement in this article, 'an antibody that attacks the thyroid gland resulting in inflammation' is a very common misunderstanding among physicians.

The origin of Hashimoto's is thyroid inflammation. This is why such a high percentage of people with Subclinical Hypothyroidism develop Hashimoto's. It's time for us physicians to understand that to treat Hashimoto's is by reducing thyroid inflammation. This may mean prescribing thyroid hormones to reduce TSH but there are other means which are exposed by a number of medical journals from around the world.

We have to start thinking about cause and not just trying to adjust levels of thyroid hormones.

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