News of the Center
Many of our type 1 diabetes patients also have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis - which is also called Hashimoto's disease. This is another autoimmune disorder where antibodies cause inflammation of the thyroid, a small butterfly shaped gland at the base of the neck. Although small, the thyroid is quite powerful and is responsible for regulating many of our body’s functions.
About 30-40% of people with type 1 diabetes and 10-30% percent of the general population have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It is 7 times more likely to occur in woman than men. Over time, the inflammation from Hashimoto's disease may lead to the thyroid working less effectively, otherwise known as hypothyroidism.
Again, like type 1 diabetes, the antibodies for Hashimoto's disease can be detected many years prior to the development of hypothyroidism and annual monitoring of thyroid functions is important. This can be done with a simple blood test. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are very vague but may include fatigue, forgetfulness, weight gain, hair loss, irregular periods, and depression. Treatment for most people typically involves synthetic thyroid hormone once a day. It is usually lifelong and finding the right treatment option and dosage to help you feel your best can take some experimentation and patience.
Special care needs to be taken either during time of pregnancy, or when considering pregnancy. Close monitoring of thyroid levels during this time is important and some woman in the early stage of Hashimoto's disease may need to start replacement therapy even with normal thyroid functions.
I'm often asked, “What can I do to prevent becoming hypothyroid?” Unfortunately, there is no good answer beyond our normal advice to promote a healthy lifestyle. These include eating a health-promoting diet, with fewer processed foods, lower amounts of sugar and carbohydrates, staying physically active, getting plenty of sleep, and reducing stress in your life.
Having too little or too much thyroid hormone can lead to other complications. When I meet with a Hashimoto's patient I consider all of their symptoms, perform a thorough exam, and draw monitoring blood tests. I believe that it is important to focus on the whole person to provide excellent care for my patients.
Dina Block, MD is our new endocrinologist, you can learn more about Dr. Block in her team profile and you can schedule an appointment with her to help manage your thyroid or other endocrine condition.