Underdiagnosed Autoimmune Disease the Focal Point of National Campaign

23nd Annual Thyroid Disease Awareness Activities Presented by Endocrinology Association

Focuses on Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, The Most Frequent Cause of Underactive Thyroid

In The U.S.

Friday, January 27, 2017 2:03 pm EST


"Although it’s not the end of the world to get a diagnosis like this, it’s a ‘new normal’ that takes some adjustment"

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.--(January 17, 2017) –You’re not sleeping the way you used to, your energy level is shot and you’re gaining weight.

All of these signs may be easy to dismiss as the byproduct of today’s hectic lifestyle. Over time, however, the consequences of such symptoms can be substantial, destructive and cause unnecessary suffering if you have hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) -- a condition commonly due to autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s thyroiditis -- and simply don’t know it.

That’s the message being delivered by the American College of Endocrinology (ACE) during its year-long national awareness campaign that launched January 16 with a nationwide satellite media tour.

Also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (theye-royd-EYET-uhss), Hashimoto’s occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland as if it were foreign tissue, gradually destroying the healthy tissue and compromising its ability to produce hormones that regulate a broad range of vital body functions.

Hypothyroidism isn’t the only complication associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. In some cases, the condition can also cause a painless enlargement of the thyroid, commonly known as goiter. A goiter, particularly a large one, may also cause symptoms such as difficulty swallowing.

Hashimoto’s tends to occur in families and often is associated with many other autoimmune conditions such as type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. Since these conditions can have very serious consequences and mimic having too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) thyroid hormone, it is important to learn about them.

The underlying cause of the autoimmune process is unknown. It is seven times more common in women than men and is most commonly diagnosed after age 40, although it often goes undetected for long periods of time until it causes hypothyroidism.

ACE has enlisted social media beauty and lifestyle vlogger Marnie Goldberg (https://www.youtube.com/user/MsGoldgirl, Instagram: @msgoldgirl, Twitter: @GoldGirl330, Website: msgoldgirl.com) to share a patient’s perspective about the effects of the autoimmune disease and tips on how to manage living with the condition.

Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in her 30s after enduring many of the telltale symptoms of hypothyroidism for years, Goldberg recently began using her online platform to share her experiences with her followers in the hopes that she could shed some light on the often-ignored condition.

“I’m an educated woman, but I’d never heard of Hashimoto’s before it was detected by my doctor,” notes the newly minted patient advocate.  “It’s been astonishing to discover that so many of my female friends and many of the subscribers to my video blogs are also struggling silently with hypothyroidism and how to best manage their lives since being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s.”

“Although it’s not the end of the world to get a diagnosis like this, it’s a ‘new normal’ that takes some adjustment,” she adds, “so it’s important to pay attention to changes in your health that are red flags, to become knowledgeable about your disease, to seek out a specialist and to be an active participant in optimizing your health.”

Ms. Goldberg joined AACE member endocrinologists Dr. Pauline Camacho, FACE, AACE AACE president and Dr. Jeffrey Garber, FACP, FACE, a nationally recognized thyroid expert, for the media tour and also will share her perspective about various aspects of life with Hashimoto’s disease in a series of online videos throughout 2017.

In addition, a dedicated Facebook page – My Hashimoto’s Story – and associated social media assets (Twitter: @myhashimotosstory) are being created to help Hashimoto’s patients connect with one another and encourage information-sharing among group members.

To learn more about Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and hypothyroidism, as well as other thyroid conditions, visit www.thyroidawareness.com