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What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis? What Are Its Symptoms? How Is It Treated?

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Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that causes the thyroid to stay inflamed. It eventually hampers the thyroid’s ability to produce thyroid hormones. It is more prominent in women than men and can be found in children.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the leading cause of hypothyroidism in the United States. It is treated with medicine and can be helped by eating foods that do not cause inflammation.

Note: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is also known as Hashimoto’s disease and chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis.

What Is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is caused by your immune system attacking your thyroid. The resulting inflammation initially causes your thyroid to leak. The leaking of hormones causes your thyroid to become overactive and produce an excess of hormones. Eventually, though, the inflammation prevents your thyroid gland from producing enough hormones.

Definitions:

  • Thyroid: The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. The hormones it produces help the body to use energy, stay warm, and help the brain, organs, and muscles to work properly.
  • Thyroxine: The main hormone produced by the thyroid gland.
  • Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism, also known as an overactive thyroid, is a condition where the thyroid is over-producing hormones.
  • Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid. The thyroid gland is not capable of producing enough thyroid hormones to keep the body functioning normally.
  • Endocrinologist: An endocrinologist is a doctor that specializes in the body’s glands and the hormones they produce.

What Are the Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis leads to hypothyroidism. As the number of thyroid hormones decreases in your system, your body processes start to slow. As your body slows:

  • You tire easily.
  • You feel colder than others around you.
  • Your skin becomes drier.
  • Constipation becomes a problem.
  • You become forgetful and depressed.
  • You gain weight without knowing why.
  • For women, your menstrual cycle can become irregular or heavy.
  • Your thyroid may become enlarged into a goiter.

How is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Diagnosed?

In addition to considering symptoms, an endocrinologist will administer a thyroid function test.

The pituitary gland produces thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH) to activate the thyroid to produce thyroid hormones. As the level of thyroid hormones decreases in the bloodstream, the pituitary gland increases the output of TSH to trigger the thyroid to produce more hormones. The endocrinologist will be looking for a high level of TSH and a low level of free thyroxine.

A thyroperoxidase (TPO) antibodies test may also be done. Thyroperoxidase is an enzyme that helps make thyroid hormones. Antibodies attack the thyroperoxidase enzymes, limiting the ability of the thyroid to produce hormones. The presence of TPO antibodies may suggest Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, but it not does necessarily indicate hypothyroidism.

If you have a family history of thyroid problems, early detection of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism is possible and helpful to you. The well-trained and experienced endocrinologists in Tampa, FL at the Bay Area Endocrinology Associates can help you to diagnose your symptoms and provide you with the best treatment.

Interesting fact: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is named after the Japanese medical scientist and doctor who discovered it in 1912, Hakaru Hashimoto. The disease was identified as an autoimmune disorder in 1957.

How Is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Treated?

If you test positive for TPO antibodies but test normal for TSH and free thyroxine, you do not need any treatment. Even if you have a mild case of hypothyroidism, you still may not require any medication.

But if you have a strong case of hypothyroidism, then you will need thyroid hormone replacement treatment. Thyroid hormone replacement treatment consists of taking synthetic hormone medication, like Levothyroxine. Synthetic thyroxine works in your body the same as your own thyroid hormones would.

The only safety concerns with taking synthetic thyroxine are taking too much or too little. You will be monitored for a period of time as the correct amount is determined.

How to take thyroid hormone medication: Your thyroid hormone should be taken on an empty stomach. Food in your stomach can affect the absorption of the hormone into your system. Try to take the hormone at the same time each day. This will help the level of thyroxine to remain stable in your system. Check with your doctor about any interaction between the thyroid hormone and other medications you are taking.

Because thyroid hormones are slow-acting, it may take several months for your symptoms to go away. Since your thyroid will not get better, taking thyroid hormone replacement medication may be a life-long practice.

What Is the Best Diet for Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

Diet will not cure Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, but eating the right foods may help you to feel better. Since Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation, eating certain types of food may help you to feel better.

Foods that are good:

  • Whole foods.
  • An array of colorful, high-fiber fruits and vegetables.
  • Whole grains.
  • Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, and fish.

Foods to avoid:

  • Processed foods.
  • Refined sugars and grains.
  • Saturated and trans fat.

At Bay Area Endocrinology Associates located in Tampa, FL, we specialize in the treatment of all thyroid conditions including cancer, nodules, hyper and hypothyroidism. We perform our own thyroid ultrasounds, biopsies, and labs. Contact us today for any of your thyroid concerns.

Thyroid And Bone Loss: Can These Two Be Related?

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Osteoporosis And Your Thyroid

Most people don’t associate their thyroid health and their bone health, but the two are closely connected. If your thyroid isn’t functioning correctly, you can be at risk of developing osteoporosis. Those who are Caucasian and are slightly built have the highest incidence of hyperthyroidism osteoporosis, but anyone who has too much thyroid hormone can develop it.

What Is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone condition that can affect any person at any age. Typically, it occurs as a result of the aging process, but there are other causes. Osteoporosis causes the bones to become brittle and they can break easily because they’re very fragile. More than 2 million fractures annually can be attributed to osteoporosis, and most of them occur in the hip, spine or wrist. Almost 80 percent of the 54 million Americans who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis are women, and this can be due, in part, to hormonal fluctuations and the fact that men’s bones are denser than women’s bones. Statistically, as many as 50 percent of women and 25 percent of men who are more than 50 years old will incur a broken bone that’s attributable to osteoporosis.

The exact causes of osteoporosis are as yet unknown, but the process and the ramifications of it are well understood. Diseases such as Cushing’s syndrome and kidney disease can contribute to the onset of osteoporosis, as can some medications that cause bone loss, such as steroids and anti-seizure medications. However, hyperthyroidism is a very common contributor to the onset of osteoporosis. Hormone replacement therapy, or HRT, that uses estrogen can help maintain bone density, but many women are reluctant to use HRT because of its potential side effects. Resistance activities such as walking uphill or lifting small amounts of weight can help to increase bone density and offset the deleterious side effects of osteoporosis, even if it’s caused by hyperthyroidism. If you suspect that you have hyperthyroidism osteoporosis, then you should schedule an appointment with your Tampa endocrinologist who can perform the necessary diagnostic tests. At Bay Area Endocrinology, we perform all our tests on site, we don’t send them to a lab for processing. Whether you need a biopsy, lab work, an ultrasound or another type of test, it will all be done on site, so you won’t have to wait days to get started on treatment.

What Is Hyperthyroidism?

Your thyroid gland produces two main hormones: T3, which is triiodothyronine, and T4, which is thyroxine. About 80 percent of the total production of these two hormones is the T4 hormone, and 20 percent is the T3 hormone. When you have hyperthyroidism, your body produces an excess amount of thyroid hormones, so you experience symptoms such as weight loss, fatigue, insomnia, heat intolerance, brain fog, and bone loss. Although the other symptoms are rather self-explanatory, bone loss can be puzzling.

If you have hyperthyroidism, you excrete excessive phosphorous and calcium through your urinary tract and your bowels, so you’re continually losing some of the minerals that are necessary for maintaining healthy bones. Whether you have hyperthyroidism because your thyroid is overactive or because you’re taking too much thyroid medication, the result is the same. If you’re taking thyroid medication, you should have your blood checked annually at a minimum because your body chemistry changes, so your dosing requirement may periodically change. If you have trouble maintaining your weight or if you repeatedly have a fractured or broken bone, you may have hyperthyroidism osteoporosis. In order to receive a correct diagnosis of this disease, you’ll need to have your condition diagnosed by your Tampa endocrinologist, so call us today to schedule an appointment and get started on your treatment regimen.

How Does Hyperthyroidism Cause Osteoporosis?

When your thyroid is overactive, which it is if you have hyperthyroidism, it causes your body to flush vital minerals and nutrients from your body. This includes the calcium and phosphorous that you need to maintain healthy bones, so over time, your bones will thin and become brittle because they no longer have the minerals they need to stay strong and healthy. Even if you take calcium supplements or other types of supplements, if your hyperthyroidism osteoporosis is left untreated, your bones will continue to deteriorate and you’ll run the risk of fractures and stooped shoulders.

What’s The Solution For Hyperthyroidism Osteoporosis?

If you think you have hyperthyroidism osteoporosis, then call our office to schedule an appointment. If you’re taking thyroid medication, call our office for your annual blood test so that you know your dosage is correct. If you have other endocrine issues, such as diabetes, obesity, low testosterone levels or any other endocrine problem, we can help you. Bay Area Endocrinology Associates in Tampa has multiple locations to serve you, and our on-site lab makes it very convenient to get your tests done.

What Is the Thyroid Gland and What is a Thyroid Nodule?

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The thyroid gland controls a lot of different areas. It releases hormones that help us to breathe, our heart rate, the central nervous system and regulates our body temperature. Without the proper regulation of hormones that control metabolism, our bodies can become distressed. So any time that the thyroid gland is deprived of nutrients or becomes out of balance, it is crucial that steps are taken to get it functioning properly.

Thyroid nodules refer to one or more growths that are found within the thyroid. If you visit your physician on a routine medical exam and this term is brought to your attention, do not panic. About 90% of all nodules are non-threatening and can treated. They can be present in your thyroid without your knowledge. An endocrinologist feel a small lump in your neck or discover one through an ultrasound of the thyroid. Nodules can either filled with fluid or can be solid throughout.

Do I Have a Throat Nodule?
There is a way to identify a throat nodule if it is prominent. Stand in front of a mirror and raise your chin so that your neck is exposed. Swallow and look around the area of the windpipe and Adams apple for any type of bump. Using your hands, feel for anything that seems abnormal. If something appears, contact your physician.

How Did I Get A Thyroid Nodule?
You may have heard that thyroid problems originate from lack of iodine. This is true in part. While Western diets have iodine added in many of their foods, there are still unexplained reasons why many people in the United States develop nodules.

Thyroid Adenoma – This is a benign tumor that is common. Usually singular, it can protrude from the neck and be easily spotted. Some are harmless and retract while others produce thyroid hormone known as hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid. An endocrinologist can provide treatment for this type of growth.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis – This is an autoimmune disorder where antibodies attack the thyroid gland causing chronic inflammation. This condition is usually hereditary and not yet understood what causes it. Occurring mainly in middle-aged women, it can evolve in men and children of any age.

Thyroid Cancer – Although rare, thyroid cancer can emerge and be spotted by difficulty in swallowing, a nodule close to the Adam’s apple that gets larger, or swollen glands in the neck. Only the proper testing performed by an endocrinologist can evaluate and provide the right plan of action.

Those most prone to thyroid nodules are men over 60 or men under 30 years old.

How Can Thyroid Nodules Be Treated?
Before treatment can be rendered, the type of thyroid nodule must be determined. Your endocrinologist may take ultrasounds of your thyroid or check your thyroid hormone levels. If he/she makes the determination that the nodule is benign, periodic checks will be scheduled. If a change is noted from a follow-up visit, medication may be prescribed in order to keep your hormone levels in balance. Radioactive iodine has been used to keep nodules from producing too much hormone activity. However, this procedure will never be used on a female that is pregnant as the radioiodine could do permanent damage to the unborn. This form of treatment can cause the nodule to shrink. Other anti-thyroid medicines and surgery may be suggested depending on the diagnosis. Anytime that cancer is suspected, surgery is the best approach. Removing all thyroid nodules that are cancerous is necessary to stop the growth. If malignancy is confirmed, the entire thyroid along with any abnormal lymph nodes, will be removed.

Will Thyroid Nodules Come Back?
If you have had nodules in the past or if they are hereditary, the side of caution is always recommended. Depending on your individual history, you may be scheduled for follow-ups that include biopsies, thyroid scans or ultrasounds. Fortunately, 90% to 95% of all thyroid nodules are benign. Once you understand what the role of the thyroid gland and thyroid nodules are, the scenario will not be as stressful.

If you are concerned that you may have one or more thyroid nodules and live in the Tampa, Florida area, there are specialists ready to review your concerns. Bay Area Endocrinology Associates focus on the treatment of all thyroid conditions including cancer, nodules, hyper and hypothyroidism. All thyroid ultrasounds, biopsies, and lab work is done onsite for quick diagnosis and treatment plans. Complex metabolic conditions, like diabetes, obesity with a comprehensive weight loss program, and hormone deficient states such as low testosterone are also included in this practice. There are multiple locations in the area for your convenience. Reach out to Bay Area Endocrinology Associates today for professional help with any thyroid nodules or other thyroid related conditions.

Myths About Hypothyroidism

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Hypothyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone. This is a common condition. However, there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions about it.

Myth: Only Women can get Hypothyroidism

Fact: This condition is more common in women. In fact, women are 5 to 8 times more likely to develop hypothyroidism than men. However, it is important for men to see a endocrinologist if they suspect that they have a thyroid problem.

Myth: Hypothyroidism Makes you Fat

Fact: Your metabolism is controlled by your thyroid. If your thyroid is not functioning properly, then your metabolism will slow down. However, there are other factors that can cause you to gain weight. That is why many people still struggle with their weight after they get their hypothyroidism treated.

Myth: Hypothyroidism Only Affects Older People

Fact: Hypothyroidism is most common in people who are over the age of 60. However, it is important to note that hypothyroidism can develop at any time. Younger women are at an increased risk of developing hypothyroidism while they are pregnant. They are also more likely to develop it immediately after they give birth.

Myth: You cannot Take Medication for Hypothyroidism While you are Pregnant

Fact: There are a lot of things that you will have to avoid while you are pregnant. This includes Aspirin, alcohol, and sushi. However, you can still take your hypothyroidism medication while you are pregnant.

Myth: Hypothyroidism Always has Symptoms

Fact: Many people in Tampa have hypothyroidism and do not know it. Fatigue, constipation, weight gain, depression, and joint pain are some of the symptoms that a person may experience if they are suffering from hypothyroidism. However, not everyone experiences those symptoms. If you experience any of those symptoms, then you will need to see your doctor.

What To Know About Thyroid Cancer

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What is Thyroid Cancer?

Thyroid cancer is a condition that is caused by the overgrowth of abnormal cells in thyroid gland. The thyroid is a small gland that is located in the throat. It regulates hormones and the way the body uses energy. Thyroid cancer is relatively uncommon. Most people who see a doctor in Tampa early are able to get their condition successfully treated.

It is possible for thyroid cancer to come back after it has been treated. The cancer sometimes returns several years after it has been treated.

Causes of Thyroid Cancer

The exact causes of thyroid cancer are not known. However, changes in the DNA can contribute to thyroid cancer. Genetics also plays a role. Genes can control the way that cells multiply and divide.

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

A lump in the neck is one of the most common signs of thyroid cancer. This lump can cause pain in the neck. Thyroid cancer can cause neck pain or ear pain. Thyroid cancer can also cause hoarseness in the voice. Additionally, coughing is another sign of thyroid cancer.

How Thyroid Cancer can be Treated

Thyroid cancer is usually treated with radioactive iodine and surgery. It usually does not require chemotherapy or radiation therapy. How far the cancer has progressed will determine the treatment that is recommended. Your endocrinologist may recommend that you join a cancer support growth. A support group can allow you to freely talk about your emotions.

Preventing Thyroid Cancer

Because the causes of thyroid cancer are not understood, there is really nothing that can be done to prevent it. Radiation exposure early in life is one of the risk factors for thyroid cancer. That is why doctors rarely use radiation to treat diseases in children. People are exposed to radiation from x-ray and CT scans. However, the radiation dose is relatively low.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis In Depth

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One of the most common thyroid disorders is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, also known as autoimmune thyroiditis. Although it can affect anyone regardless of age and gender, the typical patient with this condition is a woman between the ages of 30 and 50.

Background

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and sits below the Adam’s apple in front of the neck. Two hormones are released from the thyroid that regulates several important body functions. Some of these functions are metabolism, body temperature, muscle strength, weight, skin dryness, levels of cholesterol, and menstruation.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis results when the immune system attacks the thyroid. As a result, the thyroid produces less hormone (also referred to as hypothyroidism). This process usually occurs over several months or even years before symptoms are significant enough to be noticed.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis are fatigue, an enlarged thyroid (also called a goiter), constipation, dry and thinning hair, depression, constantly feeling cold, and irregular or heavy menses.

Diagnosis

A combination of a physical exam, medical history, and blood tests are used most often to diagnose Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. The blood tests measure the levels of thyroid-stimulating Hormone (TSH), T4, and antithyroid antibody. When the TSH and antithyroid antibody levels are higher than normal while the T4 levels are lower than normal, this usually indicates a patient has Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Less frequently, an ultrasound or a computerized tomography (CT) scan are used to confirm a diagnosis.

Treatment

Treatment of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is usually simple and effective. Synthetic T4, also known as thyroxine, is the standard course of treatment. Levels of thyroxine are regularly monitored with blood tests and the dosage is adjusted as necessary.

If you are in the Tampa area and experience the symptoms mentioned above, please contact your endocrinologist to get a diagnosis and begin treatment.

Your Health and an Underactive Thyroid

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Hypothyroidism is a common medical disorder that affects millions of people. An underactive thyroid does not produce enough of the thyroid hormone. Your thyroid controls how your body uses energy. If you have an underactive thyroid, you might feel sluggish. The condition can also affect your heartbeat and body temperature. For most people, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is the cause of an underactive thyroid. It is an autoimmune disorder that attacks your thyroid. It causes your body to produce antibodies, and the antibodies can destroy your thyroid gland. Thyroiditis can cause inflammation and viral infection.

Causes of Hypothyroidism

Radiation therapy can also cause hypothyroidism. When radiation damages the cells, the thyroid gland has to work harder. Radioactive iodine treatment can destroy the thyroid gland. Surgery and medications can also cause an underactive thyroid. The human body does not produce iodine, and an iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism.

Side Effects of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can cause cardiovascular problems, infertility, and obesity. If a pregnant woman has an underactive thyroid, the disorder can affect the fetus. During the first trimester, the mother supplies the thyroid hormone. If the mother has an underactive thyroid, the disorder can affect the baby’s mental development. If a person has an extremely underactive thyroid, the disorder can cause myxedema. Myxedema can cause a person to lose consciousness.

Common Risk Factors

Older women are more likely to be diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. The most common symptoms of an underactive thyroid are constipation, depression, fatigue, and carpal tunnel syndrome. If you have any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with a Tampa endocrinologist.

A synthetic thyroid hormone can treat hypothyroidism. Certain medications can interfere with the synthetic hormone, so you should speak with your endocrinologist about any medications you are currently taking.

Why is Your Thyroid Gland So Important?

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Your thyroid is a gland that is found in the lower, front section of the neck, just below the Adam’s apple. It wraps around the windpipe (trachea) and supports the voice box (larynx). It is a rich source of blood vessels, and it has a shape that resembles a butterfly because of its two side lobes that are joined in the middle by a bridge (isthmus).

The function of the thyroid gland is to manufacture and store the body’s important hormones that support the internal regulation of your body temperature, blood pressure levels, and the heartbeat rhythm. These hormones circulate through the bloodstream and impact the performance of every tissue and cell. The thyroid gland hormones also play a significant role in your growth pattern, metabolism, and the conversion rate of food into energy.

Iodine is the main component that enables the thyroid to make two vital hormones known as T4 (Thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). A third important hormone made by the thyroid is calcitonin. This hormone activates bone cells to increase bone calcium. The pituitary gland is an endocrine gland that is located at the base of the brain and weighs less than 2 ounces. This gland signals the thyroid gland during the production of hormones by a system called TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone).

When the pituitary and thyroid glands are working properly, there are no adverse effects. However, higher TSH signals from the pituitary gland resulting in lower thyroid performance. Lower pituitary TSH signals will result in higher thyroid performance. Low levels of thyroid hormones are known as hypothyroidism, and it causes your body’s systems to slow down. Conversely, high levels of thyroid hormones are known as hyperthyroidism, and it causes nervousness, irritability, and rapid heart rhythms.

Thyroid disorders manifest in many forms. Some symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland include swelling in the thyroid area, tiredness, brain fog, constipation, weight gain, and sore muscles. Some symptoms of an overactive thyroid gland include anxiety, fast heartbeat rate, diarrhea, weight loss, frequent perspiration, and increased risk of diabetes.

If you have any doubt that you, or a loved one, may have a malfunctioning thyroid gland, it can be diagnosed by a visit with a board certified Tampa Endocrinologist, . A defective thyroid can sidetrack your normal performance. The sooner you have a thyroid disorder treated, the sooner you’ll be back on track.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

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Hashimoto’s disease also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is an autoimmune medical condition where the immune system turns against the body. In the case of Hashimoto’s, the immune system goes after the thyroid, leading to inflammation and interfering with its ability to produce thyroid hormones. Hashimoto’s oftentimes results in hypothyroidism (reduced thyroid function).

What Is Hypothyroidism?

A condition called hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones that the body needs. The thyroid gland is located at the front of the neck. It makes hormones that control the body’s metabolism. These hormones affect heart rate and how fast the body uses calories from food.

What Causes Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?

The factors thought to contribute to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis include:

Genetics: People with Hashimoto’s often have relatives with thyroid conditions or other autoimmune disorders.

Hormones: Hashimoto’s is diagnosed in about seven times as many females as males, in both Tampa and across the United States. Due to this large difference, sex hormones are thought to play a role.

Too much iodine: Iodine is needed by the body to make thyroid hormones. A diet too rich in iodine may lead to thyroid disease.

 

What Are the Symptoms of Hashimoto’s?

Not everyone with Hashimoto’s disease develops hypothyroidism. For those who do, mild hypothyroidism without symptoms can occur, especially in the early stages. When hypothyroidism starts to show, the first symptom may be an enlarged thyroid called a goiter. Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid due to Hashimoto’s could include:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Constipation
  • Inability to get warm
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Hair loss, thinning hair or brittle hair
  • Irregular or heavy menstrual periods
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Slowed heart rate

What Treatment Options Are There for Hashimoto’s?

Since Hashimoto’s thyroiditis typically results in hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland), thyroid hormone replacement therapy helps to restore the balance of hormones the body needs. Thyroid hormone replacement therapy helps to relieve a goiter condition as well as other symptoms.

Find Out If You Have Hashimoto’s

Since the symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroid can mimic other medical conditions, it’s important to see an endocrinologist for an accurate diagnosis.

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