Is it best to remove the thyroid if you have Hasimoto's disease?
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is named after Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, a Japanese surgeon. The disease eventually causes hypothyroidism in people who are iodine deficient. The thyroid gland becomes inflamed and fibrotic. It is nonfunctional when fibrosis consumes the gland. The disease is thought to be autoimmune in nature but iodine deficiencies also play a role in the progression of the disease. It may affect people of all ages but is most commonly seen in elderly women.
Thyroidectomy is not the standard of care due to the fibrotic condition of the gland. However, thyroid replacement hormone therapy is necessary. These exogenic hormones mimic the actions of the thyroid hormones and are critical for cellular metabolism.
Endocrinology/Davis et all/p.388
In Hashimoto's disease, also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, the immune system of the body attacks the thyroid gland. This affects the thyroid which is part of the endocrine system and hormones produced by which coordinate a large number of activities in the body. Due to the inflammation in the gland, it is not able to produce an adequate amount of hormones leading to hypothyroidism.
This condition does not require the thyroid to be removed as synthetic hormone replacement therapy is usually sufficient to take care of the thyroid hormone deficiency. The patient needs to take the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine on a daily basis. These pills restore the hormone levels and the symptoms of hypothyroidism are reversed. In addition a few changes in diet may also be required as some foods affects the absorption of the hormone.