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Hashimoto's disease is a problem with your thyroid gland located in your neck. The thyroid gland makes hormones that control how your body uses energy. When you have Hashimoto's disease, your immune system begins to attack your thyroid gland, causing it to become swollen and irritated. When this happens, your thyroid cannot make hormones as it should.

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  • Because the thyroid gland may swell with Hashimoto's disease, there may be a feeling of fullness or tightness in the throat.
  • There may be difficulty swallowing food or liquids.
  • You might notice a swelling or bump (called a goiter) in the front of your neck.
  • You may experience tiredness, forgetfulness, depression, coarse dry skin, slow heartbeat, weight gain, constipation and intolerance to cold.
  • Many people with this disease have no symptoms at all. An ordinary blood test may just show that the thyroid hormones are out of balance.

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A blood test can tell if your thyroid gland is not working properly. Your doctor can give you other blood tests to look for Hashimoto's disease.

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Even though Hashimoto's disease can affect people of all ages, it is most common in women who are between 30 and 50 years of age. If someone in your family has had thyroid disease, you may have an increased risk for Hashimoto's disease. No one is sure why people get this disease.

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Hashimoto's disease has no cure. However, your doctor can treat low thyroid function so you probably won't have any long-term effects.

Thyroid medicine can replace the hormones your thyroid gland usually makes. How long you need to take the medicine will depend on the results of your blood tests. For most people, thyroid hormone medicine causes no problems.

Taking your thyroid medicine and having regular blood tests to see how your thyroid gland is working can help prevent symptoms like tiredness, weight gain and constipation.

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DISCLAIMER: **This web site's goal is to provide you with information that may be useful in attaining optimal health. Nothing in it is meant as a prescription or as medical advice. You should check with your physician before implementing any changes in your exercise or lifestyle habits, especially if you have physical problems or are taking medications of any kind.