How is Hashimoto’s disease treated?
Not everyone with Hashimoto’s disease has hypothyroidism. When this is the case, some healthcare providers may choose to simply monitor the patient’s condition, watching for any changes in the condition.
If hypothyroidism is present, usual treatment is a man-made form of thyroid hormone called levothyroxine (Synthroid®, Tirosint®, Levoxyl®, Levothroid®, Unithroid®, Novothyrox®). This drug restores the normal function of the thyroid. It must be taken daily for the rest of the patient’s life. Blood tests are routinely ordered to adjust the dose to make sure that the hypothyroidism is kept under control.
What are the complications of Hashimoto’s disease?
If left untreated, hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s disease can lead to some serious complications including:
- Heart problems, such as enlarged heart or heart failure
- Mental health issues, including depression
- Myxedema coma. Immediate emergency care is needed for this rare, life-threatening condition. Myxedema can lead to heart failure, seizures, coma, and death.
- Pregnancy issues. If hypothyroidism occurs during pregnancy, it is most likely due to Hashimoto’s disease. If not controlled, it increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, or a dangerous rise in blood pressure in late pregnancy (called preeclampsia). Untreated hypothyroidism can also affect the baby’s growth and brain development.