Is it Hashimoto’s disease or is it hypothyroidism? What are the similarities and the differences?

What are the differences?

Hypothyroidism is a condition with a variety of causes.

From the Mayo Clinic: Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain crucial hormones.

Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease, and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.

From they Mayo Clinic: Hashimoto’s disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid…

When testing for either hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s, most doctors will order a thyroid function test to check TSH, T3 and T4 levels. An elevated TSH is what most practitioners will use to diagnose hypothyroidism. Testing for Hashimoto’s goes a step further, as antibodies are tested for separately using a thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibody test. TPO is an enzyme normally found in the thyroid gland, and a TPO test detects antibodies against TPO in the blood.

What are the similarities?

Since Hashimoto’s is a leading cause of hypothyroidism, most of the symptoms are the same, such as:

  • Fatigue and sluggishness
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Pale, dry skin
  • A puffy face
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Enlargement of the tongue
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding
  • Depression
  • Memory lapses

Essentially, Hashimoto’s may cause hypothyroidism, but hypothyroidism does not cause or mean that you have Hashimoto’s.

Overall, while the symptoms can be the same, the causes are different and can ultimately determine your treatment options.

If you have symptoms, think you may have symptoms or are just generally concerned, always make sure to consult with a healthcare provider.

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your health care provider 

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