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Hashimoto's Disease (cont.)

Hashimoto's Thyroiditis Causes

The cause of Hashimoto's is thought to be a combination of a genetic predisposition along with an environmental trigger that starts the process of autoimmune destruction. What the trigger actually is remains unknown. Additional factors, including heredity, gender, and age, also play a role in developing this disorder.

Normally, the immune system acts to protect against viruses, bacteria, and foreign substances (antigens) that invade the body. In conditions of autoimmune disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks parts of the body itself. In the case of Hashimoto's thyroiditis, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. The autoimmune process causes inflammation of the thyroid gland (thyroiditis), resulting in an impaired ability of the thyroid gland to produce hormones, leading to hypothyroidism. The pituitary gland responds by increasing TSH and attempting to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones. This can cause growth of the gland, or a goiter.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/4/2014

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