Dr. med. Sabine Rauch, Specialist in General Medicine, Simlangsdalen, Sweden
1. General and Definition
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland. The disease was named after the Japanese doctor Hakaru Hashimoto (1881-1934), who first described the condition in 1912.
There are two different known types, the atrophic and hypertrophic forms, with the atrophic version being by far the most common. Both types today are generally summarised under the term 'Hashimoto's thyroiditis'. Both types eventually cause an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).
Thyroid gland tissue is destroyed by T lymphocytes as a result of a malfunction in the immune process, this resulting in turn in chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland. Due to the increasing loss of healthy and active thyroid tissue, the thyroid gland is no longer able to form a sufficient number of hormones or deliver them to the body. At the start of the disease however t...