Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Complications

Disorders Associated with this Common Thyroid Disease

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a disorder characterized by inflammation of the thyroid gland. This condition can cause certain complications, including putting you at a higher risk for developing other autoimmune disorders and, to a lesser extent, thyroid lymphoma, a specific type of thyroid cancer.

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and Other Autoimmune Disorders
Autoimmune disorders are caused by a malfunction in your immune system. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder, which is why the primary complication associated with Hashimoto's thyroiditis is that it increases your risk of developing other autoimmune disorders.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis increases your risk of developing a number of autoimmune disorders. Some examples include:

  • Addison's disease
  • Graves' disease
  • premature ovarian failure
  • type 1 diabetes
  • lupus erythematosus (a disorder that causes inflammation in a number of the body's systems, including the lungs and heart)
  • pernicious anemia (a disorder that prevents the absorption of vitamin B12)
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • thrombocytopenic purpura (a disorder that interferes with the blood's ability to clot)
  • vitiligo (a disorder that produces white patches on the skin due to attacks on skin pigment cells)

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and Thyroid Lymphoma
It's a very rare complication, but Hashimoto's thyroiditis may increase your risk of developing a specific kind of thyroid cancer known as thyroid lymphoma. Thyroid lymphoma is highly treatable and curable when it's detected early on. That's why it's so important to pay attention to any thyroid nodules (or thyroid lumps) and get them examined by your doctor as soon as possible.

Because Hashimoto's thyroiditis can increase your risk for certain autoimmune disorders, you should talk to your doctor about what steps you should take to effectively manage these risks. Your doctor may recommend periodic tests to ensure that any associated complication is detected—and treated—as early as possible.

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Sources

  • Chronic thyroiditis (Hashimoto's disease) page. Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia Web site. A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000371.htm. June 17, 2008. Accessed May 12, 2010.
  • Hashimoto's Thyroiditis: Information for Patients page. The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) Web site. Available at: http://www.aace.com/pub/thyroidbrochures/pdfs/Hashimoto.pdf. 2005. Accessed May 12, 2010.
  • Thyroid Disorders: Thyroiditis. The New York Thyroid Center Department of Surgery Web site. Available at: http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/dept/thyroid/thyroiditis.html. Accessed May 12, 2010.