It’s All About Balance: Manage Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Stay on Top of Hormone Treatment with an Smartphone App
If You Are Living with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, It Is Crucial That You Keep Your Hormones in Check. Find out How ...
Although most people haven’t heard of it, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease, is actually one of the most common types of thyroid disease. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a life-long medical condition in which your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the healthy cells of your thyroid, causing it to become inflamed and damaged. The thyroid gland, which is a small gland at the base of the neck, is part of the endocrine system. The endocrine system is responsible for the hormones that control many of the body’s functions. When the thyroid is inflamed and damaged, it may be unable to produce enough hormones to control the various activities of the body – and this can lead to hypothyroidism (or an underactive thyroid gland). Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the USA. Though not every patient develops severe clinical symptoms, it is still important that you monitor your illness should you have the disease. If left untreated, Hashimoto’s can lead to complications such as heart problems, mental health issues, and infertility. Fortunately, there are various, effective drugs that can replace the missing hormones and thereby reduce the symptoms of the disease. However, in the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is easy to forget to take your medication, especially when you aren’t experiencing any symptoms. In these cases, smartphone medication reminder apps can offer valuable support.
Seeing as the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease can be very unspecific, it is necessary to document your symptoms over a period of time so that your doctor can get an overview of the progression of your disease and see how you are responding to treatment. With the smartphone app MyTherapy, documenting your symptoms and tracking your overall health has never been easier. The app comes with a health journal that allows you to record your symptoms, measurements (such as weight, blood pressure, hormone levels etc.), and even results from lab tests. The health diary is compiled into a comprehensive report that can be printed out and shared with your doctor, meaning that the app is designed to help you work closely with your healthcare professional to get the best out of your treatment plans. Moreover, MyTherapy generates medication reminders, which can also be used to remind you of upcoming doctor’s appointments. You set the reminders based on prescribed instructions and logging in the relevant data is as simple as scanning the barcode on your medication packaging. Therefore, with MyTherapy, your treatment plan is turned into a simple daily to-do list, giving you peace of mind about your health.
MyTherapy is constantly being developed through user feedback, which means that the app is easy to use and tailored to our users’ needs. With its various practical and supportive features, MyTherapy makes it easier for you to manage Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and lead a full and active life.
Hashimoto’s and Hormones – a Balancing Act
Thyroiditis is a medical term used to describe the inflammation of the thyroid gland. This is a small gland in the front of the neck and it produces hormones and manages the body’s activities (such as heart rate, body temperature, muscle strength, and metabolism).
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is the most common form of thyroiditis. It is a type of autoimmune disease, which means that the body mistakes healthy tissue for foreign material and attacks it. In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, the body attacks the cells of the thyroid, causing the gland to become inflamed, swollen, and damaged. As a result, the thyroid is unable to make enough hormones to control the activities of the body, causing a condition known as hypothyroidism.
If left untreated, Hashimoto’s can cause high levels of cholesterol, heart problems, mental health issues, birth defects and, in rare cases, a life-threatening condition called a myxedema coma. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis usually affects women between the ages of 30 and 50 and statistics indicate that as many as 5% of the population may suffer from some form of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Symptoms Are the Same as Those in Hypothyroidism
The symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are mostly caused by having an underactive thyroid. Therefore, the symptoms of Hashimoto’s are the same as those in hypothyroidism:
- Dry and pale skin
- Weight gain
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Thinning of the hair
- Hoarse voice
- Irregular or heavy menstruation in women
- Fertility problems
Furthermore, it is possible that the thyroid becomes so swollen and enlarged that patients develop goiters. Goiters are growths on or enlargements of the thyroid gland and cause the front of the neck to look swollen. They rarely involve pain.
Usually the symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis do not have a sudden onset. Instead, the disease progresses slowly without causing any noticeable problems. If your doctor suspects that you have the disease, he will do a physical examination, consult your medical history, and do various tests. The most common test to screen for Hashimoto’s disease is a blood test to measure the levels of the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). This hormone is produced when thyroid activity is low. In addition to measuring the levels of TSH, doctor also checks for the thyroid hormone and the presence of antibodies.
Who Gets Hashimoto’s Disease?
Similar to other autoimmune conditions, it is not clear what causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In some cases, the disease appears to run in families, so it is possible that certain genes play a role in its development. Some scientists believe that the disease may be triggered by a viral or bacterial infection, by radiation exposure, or by excessive amounts of iodine. Moreover, sex hormones also seem to play a role. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is five to 10 times more common in women than in men and women often have thyroid problems in the first year after giving birth. In about one fifth of these cases, the thyroid problems develop into Hashimoto’s disease. Lastly, having other autoimmune diseases (like rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, or lupus) seems to increase people’s susceptibility to developing Hashimoto’s disease.
Treatment with Hormone Replacement Therapy
Although there is no cure for Hashimoto’s disease, it can be easily and effectively treated with thyroid hormone replacement. There are various drugs that can replace hormones and restore the normal activities of the body. The medication that best suits your needs depends on various factors, such as your age, weight, other health problems, or other medication you may be taking. In some cases, drug treatment might not be necessary and patients will simply be monitored for changes.
The treatment of choice for Hashimoto’s disease is levothyroxine (Synthroid, Levothroid, and Levoxyl). It is a synthetic hormone that replaces the missing thyroid hormone, meaning that your hormone levels return back to normal and your symptoms disappear. This medication must be taken indefinitely and you will have to monitor your hormone levels regularly to adjust the dose if necessary. Fortunately, the drug has no side effects. Treatment is essential because without it, hypothyroidism can worsen over the years and cause organ damage and severe illness.
Regain Your (Hormone) Balance with MyTherapy
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can cause various symptoms which are not only unpleasant, but can also lead to serious complications if left untreated. Fortunately, the disorder can be successfully managed with synthetic hormones such as levothyroxine. However, this treatment will only work if you adhere to your medication, which can become a challenge in the busyness of everyday life. For this reason, smartpatient developed the app MyTherapy. With this app, you will receive reminders on your smartphone that specify the exact time and dosage of your medication. You can also track your symptoms and overall health with the app’s health journal. This health information can be printed out and shared with your doctor, providing a reliable source of information on how you are responding to treatment. The team at smartpatient consistently ensures that MyTherapy is simple to use and includes all the features that are necessary for Hashimoto’s patients. Together, these features make MyTherapy a must-have app in managing your condition.