What is Hashimoto’s Disease?

A doctor examining a woman's thyroid gland to check for signs of Hashimoto's disease.Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition that causes your thyroid gland to become enlarged (also known as goiter) and become underactive (also known as hypothyroidism). These symptoms may not appear at first, and in some people they may not develop at all, but they can occur gradually and lead to a variety of other issues, such as fatigue, weight gain, a slowed heart rate, difficulty concentrating, or a low mood.

Approximately 5% of people in the United States experience Hashimoto’s disease. It is one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism worldwide, aside from iodine deficiency. While it can affect people of any age, sex, or ethnic background, it is much more common among people assigned female at birth (AFAB) than people assigned male at birth (AMAB). It is also typically diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 50.

A person develops Hashimoto’s disease when their immune system creates antibodies to attack thyroid tissue. This causes thyroid inflammation and damage due to an accumulation of white blood cells in your thyroid. People with other autoimmune conditions, such as lupus, celiac disease, type 1 diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, are more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease than people who do not experience these conditions.

Your doctor can diagnose Hashimoto’s disease through a physical examination, a review of your medical history, and blood tests. Specific tests that help with this diagnosis include a thyroid-stimulating hormone test (which is typically used to check for hypothyroidism) and an antithyroid antibody test (which looks for certain types of antibodies in your blood to determine whether Hashimoto’s disease is the cause of your hypothyroidism).

Hashimoto’s disease cannot be cured, but in cases where it causes hypothyroidism, it can often be managed through medication. The standard treatment is levothyroxine, which supplements the hormone thyroxine (T4) and ensures that your body has enough of it to function normally. While you would need to take this medication for the rest of your life, it is effective at managing the symptoms of this condition for most people.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease and require a diagnosis or treatment, you can schedule an appointment at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center by calling (718) 670-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Ways to Boost Your Metabolism as You Age

A less desired aspect of maturing is that your metabolism may naturally slow down.  This can cause a gradual loss of muscle mass and the numbers on your scale to creep up.

One of the most effective ways to boost your metabolism is to exercise.  As we age, extreme exercise regimens may no longer be what is recommended for us.  However, lower-impact exercises such as walking or bike riding can really give your metabolism the jump start it needs.

Another good way to stay ahead of your metabolism is to eat small meals that are high in protein, healthy snacks, such as yogurt, and drinking plenty of water throughout the day.  Try not to skip a meal because, if you do, your metabolism will think you are starving and slow down further.

Another method of speeding up a sluggish metabolism is with spices.  Try sprinkling chili pepper, ginger or turmeric on your meals.  They have all been found to have a positive effect on the metabolism.

Of course, if you have tried all these remedies to boost your metabolism and are still experiencing a slower than normal response, there may be an underlying medical condition.

Some medical conditions that can slow metabolism are:

  • Cushing’s syndrome – this illness happens when your body makes too much cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal system, creating a slow metabolism.
  • Hypothyroidism – (Underactive thyroid) in disease of the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This can cause body functions to slow down and result in weight gain, as well as fatigue, joint pain, and other symptoms.
  • Graves’ disease – (Overactive thyroid) this thyroid disease occurs when the body’s immune system makes antibodies that attach to thyroid cells, stimulating the body to make too much thyroid hormone.
  • Hashimoto’s disease – is also called autoimmune thyroiditis, this occurs when the thyroid gland becomes chronically inflamed, causing it to secrete insufficient amounts of thyroid hormone.
  • Low testosterone levels – if you’re a man with a lower level of testosterone, a male sex hormone, you might find your metabolism altered.

If you have tried ways to boost your metabolism and are not seeing any results, you may want to check in with your doctor.  If you’d like to schedule an appointment with an Endocrinologist at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, call 718-206-7001 for an appointment.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.