Hashimoto’s Disease

Also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis

Hashimoto's disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It occurs as a result of a person's immune system inappropriately attacking their thyroid gland. Symptoms typically develop slowly and include fatigue, weight gain, constipation, and/or cold sensitivity. Most people with Hashimoto's require lifelong treatment with a thyroid hormone replacement medication called levothyroxine.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can Hashimoto’s disease be reversed?

    Hashimoto’s disease is a chronic condition that cannot be reversed or cured. The disease, however, can be effectively managed by restoring a patient’s thyroid hormone levels to normal. This almost always entails taking a medication called levothyroxine, which is the synthetic form of the thyroid hormone T4 (thyroxine).

  • What does Hashimoto’s disease do to your body?

    Due to autoimmune-mediated damage to the thyroid gland, Hashimoto’s disease, over time, results in decreased thyroid hormone production. Since thyroid hormones regulate your body's metabolism, a hormone deficiency eventually results in symptoms of hypothyroidism (e.g., fatigue and feeling cold). Complications, like infertility and an increase in your “bad” cholesterol, may also occur.

  • What causes Hashimoto’s disease?

    Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition that develops when a person’s immune system misguidedly attacks their thyroid gland. A combination of one’s genetic makeup and being exposed to certain environmental factors (e.g., infection, stress, or excessive iodine intake) triggers the development of this thyroid disease.

Key Terms

Page Sources
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  2. Mathew V, Misgar RA, Ghosh S, et al. Myxedema coma: a new look into an old crisis. J Thyroid Res. 2011;2011:493462. doi:10.4061/2011/493462

  3. American Thyroid Association. Radioactive iodine.