Chronic autoimmune thyroiditis: definition, signs, diagnosis and treatment.
What is chronic autoimmune thyroiditis?
Chronic autoimmune thyroiditis - destruction of the thyroid tissue by own immune cells of the body. It was first described by the Japanese physician Hashimoto (Hashimoto). Women are more likely to fall ill than men.
Mechanism of development of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis
The mechanism of disease development is the infiltration of the gland by cytotoxic cells (lymphocytes). This autoimmune reaction develops into tissue proteins (antigens) of the gland, which the body begins to recognize as alien.
Symptoms of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis
The course of the disease for many years is invisible to the patient. The disease can be detected only if there are specific antibodies in the blood. Due to lymphocytic infiltration, an increase in the volume of the gland is possible. Actually, Hashimoto himself (Hasimoto) described hypertrophic autoimmune thyroiditis, but over the years his name turned into an entire autoimmune process in the gland. Increased iron (goiter) can be combined with complaints of difficulty in swallowing and breathing.
The disease manifests itself only at the stage of thyroid hormones deficiency (hypothyroidism). This hypothyroidism is called primary, because it is caused by a decrease in the number of functioning cells. Chronic autoimmune thyroiditis is the main (up to 80%) cause of hypothyroidism. At the stage of hormonal insufficiency, irreversible changes in the thyroid gland during ultrasound examination and low concentration of thyroid hormones in the total blood flow can be detected.
Who is ill with chronic autoimmune thyroiditis
Ill with Hashimoto's thyroiditis more often than women. Specific antibodies are detected in young women without signs of thyroid gland damage. But such carriers, of course, are a sign of increased susceptibility to the disease. Detecting an antibody can be a special study.
Treatment of chronic autoimmune thyroiditis
Treatment of a disease that has developed is now difficult. Treatment with corticosteroids is performed only in case of subacute thyroiditis, which also contains an autoimmune component.
Concerning Hashimoto's disease, there is no specific treatment. In the stage of atrophy of the thyroid gland and, as a consequence, hypothyroidism, undergo substitution therapy. But, unlike subacute thyroiditis, taking hormones lasts a lifetime, as the function of the gland is not restored.