The thyroid gland has an important function in maintaining the metabolic rate of your body and consequently it has an influence on your body weight. The thyroid gland exerts its influence upon various body organs via the hormones that it produces. Any disorder that affects your thyroid can affect the balance of thyroid hormones in your blood and can lead to a variety of symptoms. Weight gain -- or weight loss -- can be one of the manifestations of this imbalance.
Hashimoto’s disease is classified as an autoimmune disorder. By autoimmune disorder, medical professionals mean that the immune response of your body is turned against itself. Hashimoto’s disorder is characterized by a disturbed immune response of the body that causes the destruction of thyroid cells. In other words, your body is destroying its own thyroid cells. The consequence of this cell destruction is that the thyroid is rendered incapable of producing the thyroid hormones T3 and T4, and this leads to clinical hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Hashimoto's Disease
The first symptom of Hashimoto’s disease is the enlargement of the thyroid gland. This enlarged gland is called a "goiter," which is usually visible on the throat area of the neck. A large goiter can lead to difficulty in breathing or swallowing. Other symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease correspond to the symptoms of hypothyroidism, and often the major issue for most patients is the sudden and excessive weight gain. Women may experience heavy menstrual periods and difficulty conceiving, in addition to muscular pains, fatigue and high cholesterol levels.
Treatment of Hashimoto's Disease
Hashimoto’s disease is treated by supplementing the deficient thyroid hormones with synthetic preparations such as Levothyroxine. The supplementation will need to be continued possibly for your entire lifetime. As soon as the thyroid hormone supplement therapy is started, all symptoms and clinical signs of hypothyroidism usually begin to reverse.
Hashimoto's and Weight Loss
Once treatment begins, all the weight gained due to the effect of Hashimoto’s disease on the thyroid glands can be lost. It usually takes about two weeks to a month after starting treatment for the beneficial effects to be realized, and it usually takes some time to shed all of the weight gained. Taking thyroid supplements must be combined with a healthy lifestyle and good dietary habits to achieve weight loss.