Hashimoto's Disease

Atlanta Endocrine Associates

Scott D. Isaacs, MD

Endocrinologist & Weight Loss Specialist located in Atlanta, GA

Hashimoto's disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, affecting nearly 20 million Americans. It can be the reason behind unexplained weight gain, fatigue, or numerous other symptoms. Located in Atlanta, Dr. Scott Isaacs provides comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis of all thyroid conditions, including Hashimoto’s disease, Graves’ disease, thyroid nodules, and more. To schedule a consultation, call Atlanta Endocrine Associates or book an appointment online.

Hashimoto's Disease Q & A

What is Hashimoto’s disease?

Hashimoto's disease is a condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing inflammation and interfering with its ability to produce thyroid hormones. The disease very often leads to reduced thyroid function, or hypothyroidism.

Hashimoto’s disease primarily affects middle-aged women, though it can also occur in men and women of any age, as well as in children. It tends to run in families, and researchers are currently working on identifying the gene that causes the disease.

What are the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease?

There might not be any signs or symptoms of Hashimoto's disease at first, and it typically progresses slowly over the years. You may notice a swelling at the front of your throat caused by the inflamed, enlarged thyroid.

Other symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease might include:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Brain fog
  • Cold intolerance
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Constipation, or fewer than three bowel movements a week
  • Pale, dry skin or dry, thinning hair
  • Heavy or irregular menstrual periods and problems becoming pregnant
  • Allergies
  • Depression

How is Hashimoto's disease treated?

If there's no evidence of hormone deficiency, and your thyroid is functioning as it should, Dr. Isaacs may suggest a wait-and-see approach. However, if the disease is causing hypothyroidism, treatment usually consists of replacement therapy with thyroid hormones, as well as regular monitoring through thyroid blood tests and symptom evaluations.

There is a variety of medication options for thyroid replacement therapy, including:

  • Branded levothyroxine (Synthroid®, Levoxyl®, Tirosint®)
  • Generic levothyroxine
  • Desiccated porcine thyroid (Armour® Thyroid, Nature-Throid®, NP Thyroid®, custom-compounded products)
  • Compounded thyroid hormone (T4 with or without T3 or sustained-release T3)
  • Cytomel (liothyronine)

Each time thyroid medication is changed, it takes six to eight weeks for your hormone levels to stabilize. With thyroid treatment, it’s important to monitor dosage closely, because overtreatment can result in other conditions, such as bone loss, dementia or heart rhythm disorders.

To learn more about diagnosis and management of Hashimoto’s disease, hypothyroidism, or other thyroid disorders, call Atlanta Endocrine Associates or schedule an appointment online.