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Thyroiditis: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About thyroiditis

Thyroiditis is the inflammation of the thyroid gland.

Thyroiditis: Incidence, age and sex

The disease is three times more common in women. The average age of onset is between thirty and fifty years of age.

Signs and symptoms of thyroiditis: Diagnosis

The onset and symptoms vary profoundly from case to case. The onset may be insidious and asymptomatic or so sudden and painful. Mild hyperthyroidism may be present initially, but hypothyroidism is inevitable and may develop rapidly or extremely slowly. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, feeling "fuzzy-headed," depression and constipation. The goitre may be large or small, and soft, rubbery or firm in consistency, depending on the cellularity and degree of fibrosis. Thyroiditis is usually associated with raised titres of thyroid antibodies. Family history of other auto-immune diseases may be present.

Causes and Prevention of thyroiditis

There are many different types of thyroiditis, with the most common being Hashimoto's thyroiditis, also called autoimmune or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, Other forms of the disease are post-partum thyroiditis, sub-acute thyroiditis, silent thyroiditis, drug-induced thyroiditis, radiation-induced thyroiditis, and acute thyroiditis.

Thyroiditis: Complications

Papillary carcinoma and malignant lymphoma are occasionally associated with autoimmune thyroiditis. Biochemical tests of thyroid function vary with the thyroid status and are of diagnostic value only if hypothyroidism is present. Significantly, raised serum levels of one or more thyroid antibodies are present in over 85% of cases.

Thyroiditis: Treatment

Full replacement dosage of thyroxine should be given for hypothyroidism and if the goitre is large or symptomatic because some may subside with hormone therapy. Thyroidectomy may be necessary if the goitre is large and causes discomfort.