Thyroiditis (Hashimoto, subacute, autoimmune): what causes it?

Growing up, gaining or losing weight, maintaining concentration, remembering where you left the keys and having a stable mood are things that, at first, do not seem to have much relationship with each other.

If you include heart rate, bowel function, sleep quality and mood in this list, it seems even more difficult to establish a link.

But all of these actions and functions have one thing in common: the action of the thyroid. A gland located in the neck, which is small, but extremely important for the body.

Therefore, any change can cause major dysfunctions, such as thyroiditis.

Index – in this article you will find the following information:

  1. What is thyroiditis?
  2. How does the thyroid work?
  3. Types of thyroiditis
  4. What can cause thyroiditis?
  5. Risk factors
  6. Symptoms and signs
  7. Exams: how is the diagnosis made?
  8. Is there a cure?
  9. What is the treatment?
  10. Medicines
  11. Living together
  12. Prognosis
  13. Complications
  14. Can Hashimoto’s thyroiditis turn into cancer?
  15. How to prevent thyroiditis?
  16. Common questions

Contents

What is thyroiditis?

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Thyroiditis is a broad term, popularly used to define situations that lead to inflammation of the thyroid – a gland located in the neck.

That is, it is not just a disease or dysfunction, but a group of diseases that affect the thyroid, triggered by inflammatory or infectious processes .

There are several types, among them: the acute, subacute, postpartum, silent, chronic and fibrotic type. Each has characteristic symptoms and evolution, requiring individualized assessment and treatment.

While some cases may cause the patient to experience pain, tiredness , malaise or a wide variety of symptoms, others may be mild, mild or asymptomatic.

Some diseases can be self-limiting, that is, they will have a short duration and can be resolved with the temporary use of medications, or even spontaneously – when the body itself is able to recover without specific treatment.

However, there are cases where the body is unable to return to normal functioning, causing the change to be persistent.

Most persistent cases are treated with hormone replacement or medications that inhibit the secretion of hormones (antithyroid drugs).

In ICD-10, the condition can be found under the codes:

  • E060 – Acute thyroiditis;
  • E061 – Subacute thyroiditis;
  • E062 – Chronic thyroiditis with transient thyrotoxicosis;
  • E063 – Autoimmune thyroiditis;
  • E064 – Drug-induced thyroiditis;
  • E065 – Other chronic thyroiditis;
  • E069 – Thyroiditis, unspecified;
  • O905 – Postpartum thyroiditis.

How does the thyroid work?

The thyroid is a gland located in the neck, which plays an important role in several body systems, as it regulates the production of the hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine), which act in practically all of our cells.

They contribute to the proper functioning of the heart, brain, kidneys and liver, making the body work in a balanced way.

In fact, although it looks small – weighing only 25 grams – it is one of the largest glands in the body.

The hormones, after being produced, are released into the bloodstream and participate in the regulation of metabolism, heart rate, body temperature and several other functions.

In addition, they act on the growth and development of children and adolescents.

The production and release function of T3 and T4 is guided by the pituitary gland, a gland located in the brain.

It produces TSH , a hormone that stimulates the thyroid to increase hormone production.

When there is low hormone production, the condition is called hypothyroidism , and in cases of over activity, the condition is called hyperthyroidism .

Read more: How do thyroid dysfunctions happen?

Types of thyroiditis

The term thyroiditis involves a set of inflammatory or infectious conditions that affect the thyroid, which may or may not lead to changes in its functioning.

The most common ones are usually treated with oral medications, with anti-inflammatory action or in order to make up for the lack or stop the increase in hormone production by the gland.

However, each one has a specificity:

Acute thyroiditis

The condition is quite rare and consists of an infection of the gland, usually by bacteria.

Also called suppurative or pyogenic , the acute type is more common in patients who already have another disease or thyroid disorder, as well as people who suffer from impaired immune systems (for example, patients immunocompromised due to HIV or antineoplastic treatment).

Acute thyroiditis can be due to an infection present in the body, which spreads through the blood and reaches the gland, or by a direct invasion in the region.

Virtually any bacteria can infect the thyroid. Among them we can mention Sthaphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes and Streptococcus pneumoniae .

Although infections are predominantly caused by bacteria, there are fungi and parasites that can also trigger thyroid infection.

The main symptom is pain in the anterior region of the neck, where the thyroid gland is located, which may increase in volume, and become warm and sensitive to touch.

In general, the patient is unable to extend the neck, which is flexed to relieve pressure on the thyroid. There is pain to swallow. There may be signs of infection in structures close to the thyroid, enlarged lymph nodes (“nausea”), as well as fever and chills.

Subacute or Quervain thyroiditis

The subacute type is usually a self-limited condition, that is, it tends to last for a short time (weeks to months), and usually affects people between 20 and 40 years old.

Among patients, it is identified that women are the most affected, being about 5 times more common in them than in men.

In general, a cause cannot be established, but the tendency to occur after infections of the upper respiratory tract, or after sore throats, suggests that there is a strong influence of viral infections, such as mumps , measles , infectious mononucleosis and influenza. .

It has also been shown that susceptibility to subacute thyroiditis is genetically influenced.

Even because mumps and measles are more common infections in the summer, there seems to be a higher incidence of subacute thyroiditis during this season, when the circulation of these viruses is greater.

In general, the patient has severe pain in the thyroid region, which can begin after viral symptoms.

The thyroid usually increases up to 3 times its normal volume. The pain can radiate to the jaw and the ears. There may also be difficulty in swallowing, malaise, tiredness, muscle and joint pain, fever and sweating.

When thyroiditis occurs, an inflammation of the gland is generated and half of the patients may present typical symptoms of thyrotoxicosis, a condition resulting from the increased release of hormones into the circulation.

Hormonal levels are temporarily altered, which can lead to palpitations, tremors and heat intolerance, among others.

As the inflammatory process improves, hormone secretion decreases and a quarter of patients experience a phase of hypothyroidism.

Within a few weeks, most patients regain normal glandular function, while about 10% of them progress with permanent hypothyroidism. needing hormone replacement therapy indefinitely.

This is a self-limiting condition. Some patients do not need any treatment, while others will benefit from analgesic and / or anti-inflammatory agents in the acute phase of the disease.

Postpartum thyroiditis

According to the Brazilian Society of Endocrinology and Metabology, between 5% and 10% of pregnant women may develop thyroid dysfunction, with mild or moderate hormonal elevation after delivery.

The causes for thyroiditis, or other autoimmune conditions, occurring after childbirth are, in general, still unknown, although there are some theories and indications.

One of the factors pointed out by studies is that, during pregnancy, the mother’s body reduces substances related to the defense of the organism, increasing immune tolerance, to avoid the baby’s rejection.

After delivery, this tolerance drops and autoimmune changes can occur.

The typical course is characterized by 3 sequential phases: the thyrotoxic, the hypothyroid and the recovery phase.

The thyrotoxic phase (due to the release of thyroid hormones into the circulation) occurs 1 to 3 months after the baby is born and lasts for a few months, followed by hypothyroidism at 3-6 months after delivery.

Finally, normal thyroid function is usually achieved in one year.

Most patients have complete recovery, but some develop persistent hypothyroidism.

When there is permanent dysfunction, treatment is required. All patients should be monitored for thyroid function tests in the next pregnancy, delivery and postpartum.

Read more: What is not normal during pregnancy?

Silent thyroiditis

Silent thyroiditis, according to the Brazilian Society of Endocrinology and Metabology, is a condition very similar to postpartum.

There is an alteration, still without completely clarified causes, of the function of the gland, but without being related to the pregnancy and without pain or sensitivity in the place – that’s why it is called silent.

The clinical course of the disease follows two phases: the increase in hormonal secretion (thyrotoxicosis) followed by the fall (hypothyroidism). However, only 1/3 of the patients go through both phases.

On average, the increase in hormone production lasts between 1 and 3 months, while hypothyroidism lasts for about 3 months, and may persist for up to 1 year.

That is, after the alteration is detected, it takes, on average, 12 to 18 months for the gland’s function to be normalized.

Chronic or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Chronic or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition.

High titers of antibodies against thyroglobulin (TG) and thyroperoxidase (TPO) are present in most patients and participate in the process that leads to damage to thyroid cells.

Gradually these cells are destroyed, which can result in changes in hormone production.

There are a number of mechanisms that can be involved in the manifestation of the disease, such as genetic and environmental factors.

Thus, along with the genetic predisposition, the excessive intake of iodine (present in table salt and processed foods ), can contribute to damage to thyroid function.

It is important to note that the disease is characterized by attack on healthy thyroid cells, but this does not always generate signs. That is, for a long time, the gland can continue to function normally.

Therefore, the disease can have a slow course and manifest mild signs, in which case many patients do not even know they have the problem. In other cases, hormonal deficiency may manifest clinically, leading the patient to seek diagnosis.

The symptoms are very variable and depend on the stage of the disease. Patients may experience an increase (goiter) or reduction (atrophy) of gland volume.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may be associated with other autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes or celiac disease, for example.

Riedel or fibrotic thyroiditis

It is a rare condition that is characterized by the replacement of thyroid tissue by an inflammatory process, which can invade adjacent structures such as parathyroid glands, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, trachea and esophagus.

Inflammation generates a hardened mass composed of inflammatory cells, with accumulation of fibrosclerosing tissue (that is, scarring capable of damaging tissue functions).

Fibrosis can be stable or progress, even causing compression in the region. This condition can lead to changes in breathing, difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness and alteration of the voice, with damage to the nerves of the larynx and cervical blood vessels.

The diagnosis is complex. The condition is rare and can be confused even with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in milder cases.

Therefore, the diagnosis is confirmed by performing histopathology or biopsy tests, which are capable of detecting the inflammation typical of this pathology.

Drug-induced thyroiditis and radiation

In some cases, inflammation of the thyroid may result from the use of medication or radiation. Both high and low glandular activity can manifest.

In general, they are transient conditions, which stabilize when the patient stops using the medication. Among the agents capable of affecting thyroid function are lithium and amiodarone.

However, some radiation treatments can permanently affect the gland. In such cases, hormone replacement treatment must be performed.

What can cause thyroiditis?

Thyroiditis can be caused by variable factors, according to each type. Some have interference from the immune system, and it is not known exactly what causes the body to attack healthy thyroid cells.

The exact mechanisms that trigger the different types of thyroiditis have not yet been fully clarified, but it is believed that the possible causes are:

  • Acute: infectious;
  • Subacute or de Quervain: infectious / inflammatory;
  • Postpartum: autoimmune;
  • Silent: autoimmune;
  • Chronic or Hashimoto’s: autoimmune;
  • Riedel or fibrotic: inflammatory;
  • Drug and radiation induced: use of medication or radiation.

Learn more about each of the main factors:

Autoimmunity

Autoimmune diseases occur when antibodies, which participate in the body’s defense mechanisms, start promoting an attack on certain healthy cells in the body.

In general, genetic factors play a major role, but they are not the only ones responsible.

Increasingly, environmental or external factors are considered to be relevant in the manifestation of autoimmune diseases.

It is believed that factors such as stress , poor diet, smoking and some infections that the patient suffers can influence the process that generates thyroiditis, especially when there is a genetic predisposition.

Infectious agents

There are 2 types of infection-related thyroiditis: acute and subacute (or de Quervain).

Although there are several agents capable of triggering thyroid inflammation, in the case of acute thyroiditis, bacteria are the most frequent.

In these cases, the condition usually occurs in immunocompromised patients or in patients with fistulas (openings) in structures close to the thyroid.

The most observed bacterial agents are:

  • Staphylococcus aureus;
  • Streptococcus pyogenes;
  • Streptococcus epidermidis;
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae;
  • E. Coli.

Rarely, some fungi and even parasites can cause acute thyroiditis.

Inflammation can also occur at the site due to viral infections, for example, by Paramyxovirus (which causes mumps ).

Medicines or radiation

The use of certain substances or exposure to radiation may be factors capable of interfering with thyroid function.

When thyroiditis is due to the use of medications, the condition tends to return to normal after the drug is discontinued, and is sometimes quickly stabilized.

Among the drugs most associated with the change are:

  • Lithium (used for emotional disorders);
  • Interferon (acts to fight infections);
  • Cytokines (act on the immune system);
  • Amiodarone (used for cardiac arrhythmias).

The radiation (used in cancer treatments ) and radioactive iodine, on the other hand, can permanently affect the gland, causing the condition not to be reversed.

Risk factors

Some risk factors are related to the increased incidence of certain types of thyroiditis. Autoimmunity is often associated with this glandular disorder.

Know a little about the main factors. Among them we can mention:

Genetics

Having close relatives with an autoimmune disease is a risk factor.

The mechanisms of heredity (or genetic inheritance) are not yet well known, but it is known that autoimmune diseases, whatever they may be, represent an increased risk when they are present in the family.

Autoimmune diseases

Both having an autoimmune disease and having a close relative with the condition increase the chances of developing thyroiditis.

Patients with this type of pathology, which includes type 1 diabetes, celiac disease and rheumatoid arthritis , for example, are expected to have a tendency to develop other autoimmune disorders.

Exposure to radiation

Radiation therapies, such as those used to treat head and neck tumors, can affect the proper functioning of the thyroid.

In general, it is mainly children and adolescents who have the highest incidence of damage to thyroid function.

But, in addition to radiation due to the treatment of pathologies, there are also other ways of exposing yourself, often without realizing it. Among them are X-ray examinations and even airplane flights – even though these are extremely low exposure situations.

Use of medicines

The use of some drugs can affect the functioning of the thyroid. Therefore, drug therapies or the inappropriate use of medicines can cause changes in hormonal production.

Excessive iodine consumption

Iodine is an important element for maintaining the proper functioning of the thyroid and preventing falls in the secretion of thyroid hormones.

However, excessive consumption has been linked to dysfunction of the gland, as well as to a greater risk of autoimmune thyroiditis, according to the Brazilian Society of Endocrinology.

For the World Health Organization (WHO), balanced consumption is approximately 100µg to 150µg per day , for the general population.

On average, 1g of salt contains 25µg. Considering that 1 shallow tablespoon contains about 5g of salt, just 1 spoon is enough to reach the indicated rates (125µg).

Read more: Know the dangers of excess sodium in the diet

But it is important to remember that other foods also contain iodine, such as seafood, milk and processed foods. Therefore, it is best to control the salt when cooking, in addition to checking the nutritional table contained in the packaging.

Symptoms and signs

 

Some signs and symptoms may indicate that there are changes in thyroid function, but they are not always very clear to indicate the type of thyroiditis.

Some types have more specific manifestations, such as acute thyroiditis, while others are quite mild and difficult to diagnose, such as silent.

Here are some of the main signs:

Infectious symptoms

Some thyroiditis can occur or be associated with viral, bacterial, fungal or parasitic infections.

In these cases, it is common for the patient to show typical signs of other infectious diseases, such as fever, nasal discharge, headache , malaise, tiredness and skin rashes, depending on the causative agent.

Cervical pain

In some cases of thyroiditis, it is possible for the patient to experience neck pain (neck region) that starts suddenly. Usually, the symptom is located on only one side (unilateral) and tends to be intense.

Thyroid swelling

Among the most characteristic manifestations of thyroiditis is the swelling in the region of the gland. In this case, there is a swelling that can be complete or irregular in the area.

Some types are accompanied by pain, while others only show an increase in volume in the neck region (such as the silent type).

Pain at the thyroid site

Some types of thyroiditis, such as subacute, may be accompanied by pain and tenderness at the site, usually related to inflammation.

Goiter

Goiter is popularly called chatter. It is characterized by a deformation or appearance of a mass, nodule or protrusion in the region that corresponds to the thyroid.

It may be that only a few minor changes appear, being imperceptible.

But, in some cases, there may be a significant increase in the region of the gland, which can interfere with the act of swallowing and even breathing, causing coughing , hoarseness or even dilation of the veins in the region.

Typical signs of hypothyroidism

Many patients who develop thyroiditis may present, temporarily or permanently, a decrease in thyroid activity.

As a result, there is a drop in the hormonal secretion of T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine), causing the classic symptoms of the disease to manifest.

Among the most common are:

  • Tiredness;
  • Somnolence;
  • Indisposition;
  • Cold intolerance;
  • Dryness of the skin;
  • Mood changes;
  • Changes in the menstrual cycle;
  • Difficulty in maintaining weight;
  • Hair loss and scaly nails.

Typical signs of hyperthyroidism

Often, before the hormonal production falls or stabilizes, the patient goes through stages in which there is a high release of thyroid hormones into the circulation.

Although transient, in most cases, this period can manifest typical symptoms of hyperactivity, which are:

  • Agitation;
  • Weakness;
  • Tremors;
  • Anxiety and nervousness;
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping;
  • Cardiac acceleration;
  • Eyes bulged;
  • Changes in appetite;
  • Weight loss.

Exams: how is the diagnosis made?

 

The diagnosis of thyroiditis consists of the clinical and historical evaluation of the patient. Initially, suspicions are raised after the patient’s reports.

Then, it is through tests that detect and rule out other conditions, that the diagnosis is closed.

The most qualified professionals to monitor and evaluate the patient are the general practitioner and the endocrinologist .

Examination of T3, T4 and TSH

Tests that measure hormone levels of T3, T4 and TSH are important to assess the course of the disease. Remembering that some types of thyroiditis can have phases of hypo and hyperactivity, the exams are always a complement in the diagnosis.

These tests are done with a blood sample and do not require fasting.

It should be noted that in the thyrotoxicosis phase (increased hormonal secretion), the results of T3 and T4 tend to be high, with T4 being generally higher than T3. TSH tends to be low.

When the patient enters the hypoactive phase, T4 tends to go down, while TSH tends to go up.

Specific antibody tests

Blood tests can be used to detect specific antibodies, such as anti-TPO anti-thyroid and anti-thyroglobulin, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Analyzes are performed using standard blood samples.

Ultrasound

Changes in the thyroid gland can be observed by ultrasound examination. The procedure is very important to identify, for example, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which has heterogeneous areas caused by the attack of the immune system.

The procedure consists of a non-invasive, quick and painless image exam.

To perform it, the doctor applies a layer of lubricating gel to the neck region and then travels the surface of the skin, close to the gland, with a transducer – a device that uses sound waves to generate the images.

Is there a cure?

It depends on the disease . When the disease is self-limiting, as in most cases of postpartum thyroiditis, the body itself may be able to restore thyroid normality.

With that, there is no need to treat or control hormonal rates.

However, if the alteration persists, it is necessary to start drug treatment, which, in some cases, is necessary for the rest of life.

What is the treatment?

The treatment for most thyroiditis consists of the temporary use of drugs with anti-inflammatory action, for hormone replacement, or to suppress the action of thyroid hormones. However, some specific types may require different interventions.

The main forms of treatment include:

Medicines

The indication of medications is quite common in the treatment of thyroiditis, but it will depend mainly on the subtype of the disease.

The most common ones involve medications to treat the symptoms (control of pain and inflammation), or to replace the hormonal deficiency that is usually transient.

In specific cases, it may be necessary to combat infectious agents.

Cirugias

In cases where the goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland) is very expressive, compressing or affecting the structures of the throat, surgery may be necessary.

More rarely, in cases of bacterial thyroiditis, small incisions may be necessary to drain secretions from the site.

Medicines

The use of medications will depend on the type of thyroiditis.

Some cases have spontaneous resolution, in which the body itself is able to restore proper functioning – even so, it may be necessary to use medicines to control pain, for example.

However, when hypothyroidism sets in, part of the patients will have to use drugs for life.

The most used drugs are:

Beta blockers

Medications such as propranolol can be indicated when the patient is in the thyrotoxicosis phase and has significant cardiac changes and tremors.

Anti-inflammatories

Medicines such as prednisone may be indicated for the treatment of thyroiditis that is accompanied by neck pain. The use is controlled and temporary, and should be suspended or discontinued progressively, according to medical advice, as soon as the pains are alleviated.

Levothyroxine

The drug is indicated in cases of thyroid hypoactivity. This is the treatment indicated for cases in which the body is unable to reestablish the correct functioning of the gland.

The tablets should be taken daily. Among the options are: Euthyrox , Puran T4, Synthroid and Levoid.

Antibiotics

In cases where the presence of bacteria associated with thyroiditis is detected, it is necessary to use specific antibiotics .

In such cases, the drug can be determined based on tests capable of identifying the causative agent.

Attention!

NEVER self-medicate or stop using a medication without first consulting a doctor. Only he will be able to tell which medication, dosage and duration of treatment is the most suitable for his specific case. The information contained in this website is only intended to inform, not in any way intended to replace the guidance of a specialist or serve as a recommendation for any type of treatment. Always follow the instructions on the package insert and, if symptoms persist, seek medical or pharmaceutical advice.

Living together

There are two experiences that patients with thyroiditis can experience: self-limited disease and prolonged illness.

In general, the self-limited condition does not last long, taking about 1 year for the body to be able to balance itself.

However, some patients develop permanent thyroid changes, and it is necessary to use medications continuously.

In both cases, there are options that can facilitate treatment and relieve possible discomfort:

See your doctor regularly

Maintaining regular visits to the doctor and carrying out the indicated tests is essential to monitor the course of the disease. Especially in cases where thyroiditis is still ongoing, attention needs to be paid to the possible permanent decline in thyroid activity (hypothyroidism).

Control iodine in the diet

 

Iodine is present in processed foods and table salt. The ideal is to control intake, avoiding exceeding the WHO recommendation. The tolerable limit is up to 1,100mcg / day.

But the attention goes to the absence of the substance as well. Without iodine, the thyroid function may be affected.

For most people, it is necessary to eat at least 150 µg per day (about 1 teaspoon of table salt).

Take care of health in general

Health care and the functioning of the body must always be part of people’s routine.

However, it is important to pay more attention when an autoimmune disease manifests itself, as there is a greater chance that others, also autoimmune diseases, will occur in association.

This means that even if thyroiditis stabilizes and it is not necessary to keep using medications, there are risks that, some time later, it will return.

In addition to it, other conditions are more likely to occur, such as type 1 diabetes.

Therefore, constant care is important to diagnose any change in the body early.

Read more: Healthy Eating: what it is, benefits, how to have it, menu, tips

Prognosis

The prognosis of thyroiditis is, in general, good.

Although some patients who start with a potentially self-limiting condition may progress to permanent hypothyroidism, the disease is usually easily controlled with the use of medications.

In general, the evolution of diseases can be controlled and they do not tend to cause limitations, as long as the treatment is properly carried out.

Complications

Some complications can occur, but as the course of most thyroiditis is slow, the cases are usually uncommon. Among the main ones are:

Hypothyroidism

The drop in hormone production is the most common complication of thyroiditis cases.

Some patients may experience spontaneous improvement in gland dysfunction, but some of them develop hormonal deficiency.

The condition is treated with oral medication and may not be reversible.

Goiter

Goiter is the enlargement of the gland, which can occur markedly, compromising breathing and the act of swallowing.

In severe cases, which are rare, and without proper treatment, goiter can cause airway obstruction.

Heart problems

Some thyroiditis, like Hashimoto’s, can cause changes in cholesterol and affect heart health.

In cases where thyrotoxicosis (increased hormonal release) occurs, there may be an increase in heart rate and arrhythmias.

If these changes are not treated, heart failure may develop.

Emotional changes

Several emotional changes can occur or worsen, such as depression , low self-esteem and demotivation.

Symptoms can lead to critical cases of isolation and social limitation, impacting the patient’s life.

Cognitive changes

Memory, reasoning and learning skills can be affected by thyroid changes. If left untreated, prolonged thyroiditis can lead to cognitive decline.

Can Hashimoto’s thyroiditis turn into cancer?

Review studies, published by the Brazilian College of Radiology and Diagnostic Imaging, point out that there is no direct relationship between Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and the manifestation of cancer.

Although both conditions have been occurring more frequently in recent years, the direct relationship has not been observed. But it is always important to keep monitoring the pictures and pay attention to the course of the disease.

Read more: Drinking too hot tea may increase the risk of esophageal cancer

How to prevent thyroiditis?

 

Since most thyroiditis is associated with autoimmune disorders, an effective way to prevent them is not yet known.

What can be done is to maintain a healthy routine and frequent medical monitoring, which helps in the early diagnosis of the disease.

Do physical activities

It is nothing new that physical activities are fundamental to health. They help maintain weight, improve heart health and give you more energy.

Keeping the body in motion does not effectively prevent thyroiditis, but it can reduce the risk of obesity , high cholesterol or hypertension, just to name a few.

With that, the organism becomes healthier and, if there is any genetic predisposition to autoimmune conditions, you will be better able to control it.

Take care of the food

Food is an important factor in preventing diseases in general.

Maintaining a balanced diet, that is, rich in nutrients and with less industrialized products , helps to keep the body functioning properly.

Like exercise, diet does not have a direct impact on preventing thyroiditis, but it can help to keep the body more resistant to infections. This, in this case, reduces the possibility of a thyroiditis associated with infectious agents, for example.

Pay attention to iodine

Iodine is related to the proper functioning of the thyroid, as long as it is ingested in the correct amount. Both the lack and the excess can cause changes in the gland.

Since the 1950s, iodination of all salt intended for human consumption has been mandatory. What has been happening since then are adjustments to the legislation to better serve the population in preventing disorders caused by deficiency or excess iodine.

Moderate consumption of salt and sodium-rich foods is important to minimize the risks associated with substance imbalance, which can lead to the development of thyroid disorders.

Avoid stress

Reducing stress acts as an important factor in preventing numerous conditions.

The causes of autoimmune diseases in general are not completely known, but it is known that, in addition to the predisposition, there are also external factors capable of precipitating the clinical manifestations of this group of diseases.

Therefore, reducing stress can play a role in its prevention.

Read more: Contact with nature reduces stress in 20 minutes

Common questions

Does Hashimoto’s thyroiditis get fat?

Not necessarily. It is important to know that many patients with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis go through different stages in the evolution of the disease.

Some present, at first, an increase in hormonal release (thyrotoxicosis phase), later evolving with a decrease in glandular activity (ie, hypothyroidism).

In this case, the patient may have the classic manifestation of low hormonal activity, with symptoms such as tiredness and drowsiness, in addition to decreased metabolic activity.

When the condition is not treated properly, it contributes to weight gain – especially if it is associated with poor eating habits and a sedentary lifestyle.

However, the main responsible for the increase in the numbers on the scale, due to hypothyroidism, is edema (swelling).

It is important to emphasize that the weight gain secondary to hypothyroidism, when it exists, is discreet. Proper treatment is able to reverse the problem.

Is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis dangerous?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a thyroid dysfunction that can have a major impact on the patient’s routine, which does not occur when it is diagnosed and treated properly. It tends to be easily controlled and does not generate any more damage to health.

However, without treatment, the disease can affect other body systems and cause harm to the patient.

Can Hashimoto’s thyroiditis kill?

The risk of death can rarely occur, only in very severe cases of untreated hypothyroidism, which can lead to progressive dysfunction of multiple organs and systems.

The most common is that the disease, if left untreated, causes complications to the patient’s general health and well-being. Gradually, the organs can be affected causing severe damage to the body.

Is there a special diet for those who have thyroiditis?

No. In general, food should follow common recommendations: balance and diversity of nutrients.

It is important to pay attention to the consumption of salt, due to the presence of iodine. However, moderation of salt intake is recommended for all people.

I checked my thyroid exams. Can I stop the medications?

No. When hypothyroidism develops permanently, medications should be kept for the rest of your life, it is important to use them correctly, according to medical advice.

It is worth remembering that no medication use should be started or stopped without medical advice.

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