Hashimotos - auto-immune - what does this mean for other things?

Waiting to find out results of blood tests for anti-bodies. Had ultrasound of neck today and doctor said my thyroid was not normal - nodules, nothing cancerous looking, but abnormal and burnt out is what she said. Also said could very well be Hashimotos that is causing it. As I understand it, Hashimotos is an auto-immune problem. What does this mean for other things? If it is confirmed, should I be concerned about what the auto-immune attack might do to other glands/parts of my body? Is there anything in particular that I need to be asking my doctor about or anything I need to ask her to do?

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  • Auto-antibodies target very specific things. In Hashimoto's the attack is usually directed against thyroid peroxidase (TPO), which an enzyme needed to make thyroxine (T4) or thyroglobulin, which is a large protein molecule that forms the physical structure of the thyroid, or both. I don't think TPO or thyroglobulin are normally found anywhere else in the body, so the attack can't spread to other organs directly.

    However, the conditions that allowed the formation of auto-antibodies (and we don't know what they are) do seem to make people more susceptible to having other auto-immune conditions... but I don't think there's anything to be done about that.

    I've heard that being on the right dose of thyroid hormones can help to reduce the auto-antibody attack. If the hormones are being supplied from outside, rather than by your thyroid, then the body doesn't need to produce so much TPO, so there's less of a target for the antibodies. At least, that's how it makes sense to me.

  • Thanks that's helpful and kind of reassuring.

  • How will l know on having an attack,or how would l be feeling.......just so l can recognise the symptoms

    Sue11

  • I have the same condition. A multi nodular goiter which is non cancerous and extemely high peroxidase. My TSH is within range so I am not on medication and sincerely hope that I do not have to take this in the forseeable future. All my reading suggests that a good quality Selinium supplement is of benefit. I purchase a high dosage supplement without additional vitamins.

    My condition is being monitored six monthly by blood tests. I get a copy and study all results and would recommend you do this. We have to take charge of our own condition.......

    I have seen an Endo and he advised that I could have my thyroid removed if my breathing was affected by the nodules or, indeed, for cosmetic purposes. It is obvious that if your TSH is within normal range, no treatment is forthcoming regardless of any other symptoms you may have. I have just had a blood test taken this week and asked for B12 etc. I asked for these tests having read on this site that we are often deficient because of our thyroids having to work harder with the auto immune thyroiditis which we have. There are many articles on line and indeed videos on You Tube explaining auto immune thyroiditis or Hashimotos.

    Hope this helps....

  • There are some studies that show that treating with levo does improve the outcome of Hashimoto's. This is one, but I'm sure I remember seeing others.

    ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articl...

    I am a bit shocked (to put it mildly) that they are happy to dish out expensive risky surgery "for cosmetic purposes", but not a few, cheap pills that may improve your quality of life with thyroid disease.

  • I have a goiter which is growing. At the moment I can hide it with neck scarves. If it grows too large it will interfere with my day to day living and I would be unable to live normally. There are examples of goiters on line and I can assure you that they can be enormous. I have never had surgery despite being in my mid 60's and would not consider any surgery unless absolutely necessary. I am in charge of my own health and will always make the right decision for me having listened to the professionals advice.

    If I wanted to take thyroxine then I would ask for it. I have never taken a drug in my life and I want to keep it this way. I know in the future this may well change but in the meantime I will eat healthily, use supplements and exercise to give my body a good chance to deal with the disease.

    We are all different and we all deal with situations differently. My quality of life is very good and I have an excellent GP. I am still able to run several miles each day as well as having a full life. I do not want to take medication unless I have to....Perhaps I did not explain the situation very well particularly relating to the removal of the goiter for cosmetic reasons. I understand this having researched the matter and seen how large they can grow....

  • Sorry, my misunderstanding. I guess I wouldn't classify the removal of an enormous goitre as "cosmetic", I would consider that to be medical. I sincerely hope it doesn't come to that.

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