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What are the causes of Hashimoto's thyroiditis?

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Quick Answer

The exact cause of Hashimoto's thyroiditis is not known, but contributing factors may include excessive iodine, genes, radiation exposure and hormones, according to WebMD. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that causes the immune system to attack the body's tissues.

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Full Answer

Excessive iodine may play a role in Hashimoto's thyroiditis in that susceptible people who have too much iodine may develop thyroid disease, explains WebMD. Certain drugs may also trigger thyroid disease.

A genetic component is considered a potential cause of Hashimoto's thyroiditis because it is often developed by individuals with a family history of autoimmune diseases, including thyroid disease, notes WebMD. Radiation exposure is believed to lead to Hashimoto's thyroiditis because the number of thyroid disease cases increases with exposure to radiation.

Hormones are thought to contribute to the condition because approximately seven times more women than men develop Hashimoto's thyroiditis, states WebMD. Additionally, thyroid problems affect some women the first year after childbirth and, although the issue typically goes away, some 20 percent of those affected women develop Hashimoto's thryoiditis in later years.

Symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, inability to get warm, depression, and heavy or irregular menstrual periods, details WebMD. Constipation, a slowed heart rate, hair loss, difficulty getting pregnant and weight gain are additional symptoms.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is incurable, but the condition is regulated through medication, indicates WebMD. The type and strength of medication depends on such factors as the patient's weight and age, the severity of hypothyroidism, and other health problems and medications.

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