What autoimmune disease causes hypothyroidism

Hashimoto's thyroiditis

What is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis?

In Hashimoto's thyroiditis, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, the body's immune system attacks the thyroid. This can lead to an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

When this happens, the thyroid, which is located in the front part of the neck under the Adam's apple, no longer produces enough hormones for the body. The thyroid hormones are important for the metabolism. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is most common in women between the ages of 30 and 50. Hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto's thyroiditis is treated with a thyroid replacement hormone.

Another name for Hashimoto's thyroiditis: an underactive thyroid due to inflammation of the thyroid gland.


The thyroid is located at the front of the neck and produces a hormone (thyroid hormone) that controls metabolism (the activity of cells). In Hashimoto's thyroiditis, the immune system mistakenly starts attacking the thyroid. This damages the thyroid gland so that less thyroid hormone is produced. This is known as hypothyroidism.

The exact cause of Hashimoto's thyroiditis is unknown. However, it is likely that it is caused by several interrelated events. There are a few factors that appear to increase the chances of developing this condition, including family cases of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, smoking, some viral infections, and exposure to radiation and stress. This condition is more common in women than men and is usually diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 50.


In the early stages there may be no symptoms at all or a slowly growing lump may just form in the thyroid gland (goiter, goiter). The front of the neck may be tender or tender.

Other complaints are:

  • Fatigue,
  • Weight gain,
  • pale and dry skin,
  • Constipation,
  • Cold weather sensitivity,
  • Joint and muscle pain as well
  • Difficulty concentrating.

Women can have difficulty getting pregnant and have irregular menstrual cycles.

If you are unsure whether these symptoms apply to you, start a symptom analysis.


Diagnosis is made based on the person's symptoms and appearance, as well as with the help of a blood test that determines the level of thyroid hormones. A blood test will also be done to check for antibodies (proteins that fight infection) that are active against thyroid tissue or thyroid hormone. If there is a goiter (thyroid nodule) it can be scanned with an ultrasound scan, and taking a sample (biopsy) can rule out other causes of the nodule.


In the course of treatment, the thyroid hormone is replaced by a drug. This is a lifelong treatment because the thyroid does not recover. This treatment corrects the symptoms of decreased thyroid function.


There is no cure for Hashimoto's thyroiditis. Most people recover well with replacement thyroid hormone therapy. If left untreated, Hashimoto's thyroiditis and hypothyroidism can have serious consequences, including coma and death.