Medical IDs for Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
The confidence to live with Hashimoto's thyroiditis
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s or HT) is the most common thyroid disorder in the U.S. People living with the condition may experience symptoms ranging from fatigue and joint pain to a slow heart rate and weight gain. While there is no cure for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, symptoms can be controlled with prescription medication. Treatment for HT is often lifelong, with monitoring and lifestyle changes playing a significant role in helping manage the condition. Following treatment plans closely is crucial to maintaining quality of life.
This is one of the many reasons why people living with this condition should wear a MedicAlert medical ID for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
How MedicAlert protects those living with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
One thing you shouldn’t worry about is what could happen in a health emergency. MedicAlert’s protection plans offer benefits that extend beyond the ID, providing safety and peace of mind for people living with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, their families and caregivers.
24/7 Emergency Response
Our team provides first responders the information they need to provide fast, accurate care.
Digital Health Profile
All your vital information, all in one place for you and your caregiver.
Emergency Contact Notification
In an emergency, we connect families so that no one is alone in a crisis.
Share the information that’s important to your care, such as use of rescue medications or contraindication for tests like MRIs.
Pair a medical ID for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis with the protection plan that’s right for you.
What exactly is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease. This includes more than 14 million cases of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Also known as Hashimoto’s disease, chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, and chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disorder that affects a person’s thyroid, which is the small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. When a person has an autoimmune disorder, their immune system misidentifies healthy cells as foreign invaders. When this happens, the immune system attacks and destroys these healthy cells, causing a host of symptoms.
In Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, immune-system cells lead to the death of hormone-producing cells in the body’s thyroid gland. The disease usually results in a decline in hormone production known as hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormones are responsible for controlling how the body uses energy, so they affect nearly every organ in your body—including your heart.
What causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
Researchers don’t quite understand why some people develop Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and others don’t. However, research suggest that certain factors may play a role in who is more likely to develop the condition. Hashimoto’s disease is 4 to 10 times more common in women than men. Although HT may occur in younger women and teens, it often develops in women ages 30 to 50. It is also believed that Hashimoto’s is more likely to develop in people with other autoimmune disorders such as:
- Celiac disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Type 1 diabetes
Research suggest that Hashimoto’s may have genetic links as well. If a family member has had the disease, the chance of developing HT increases. The onset of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may also be related to environmental triggers such as a viral infection, radiation exposure, or stress; interactions between genetic and environmental factors; and even pregnancy.
What are the symptoms and complications of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
Signs and symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease can vary greatly from person to person and they are often similar to those of other conditions. Because HT progresses slowly over the years, many people do not notice signs or symptoms of the disease until the later stages. Symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease may include:
- Brittle nails
- Dry skin
- Enlargement of the tongue
- Fatigue and sluggishness
- Hair loss
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Increased sleepiness
- Irregular or excessive menstrual bleeding
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
- Muscle weakness
- Problems with memory or concentration
- Puffy face
- Slow heart rate
- Swelling of the thyroid (goiter)
- Weight gain due to hypothyroidism
Thyroid hormones are vital to all body systems. If left untreated, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can lead to a number of complications including:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Heart problems
- High cholesterol
- Inability to ovulate
- Low sperm count
- Poor pregnancy outcomes
- Reduced libido
- Trouble swallowing or breathing
One of the most serious complications associated with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a rare, but life-threatening condition known as myxedema. The condition can develop as a result of long-term, severe untreated hypothyroidism. Signs and symptoms of myxedema include drowsiness, intense lethargy, and unconsciousness.
According to researchers at Mayo Clinic, exposure to cold, sedatives, infection, or other stress on the body can trigger a myxedema coma in people living with HT. Myxedema requires immediate medical attention. This is yet another reason why it is so important for people living with this conditions to wear a MedicAlert medical ID for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
How do you diagnose Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
If you are experiencing symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, your physician or an endocrinologist (doctor specializing in the body’s hormones) will review your medical history, perform a thorough physical exam, and evaluate your symptoms. Your doctor will also order one or more blood tests to assess thyroid function. Antibody tests may be used to determine if a specific protein, known as thyroid peroxidase (TPO), is present in the body. TPO is common in people with Hashimoto’s disease.
The most common blood tests for thyroid function include the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test and the thyroxine (T-4) test.
The pituitary gland produces TSH. When this gland detects low thyroid hormones in the blood, it sends TSH to the thyroid to trigger an increase in thyroid hormone production. High TSH levels in the blood indicate hypothyroidism.
Thyroxine (T-4) is the main thyroid hormone. A low blood level of T-4 confirms the results of a TSH test and shows that the problem is within the thyroid itself.
What to engrave on MedicAlert medical IDs for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis:
MedicAlert offers free custom engraving on all our Hashimoto’s thyroiditis bracelets and other medical ID products. The engraving on medical IDs for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis should include any critical medical information that can protect and save lives in case of an accident or a medical emergency, for example:
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Designated physician and emergency contact information
- Any additional medical information that needs to be communicated to first responders
Sample engraving. Consult our team if you need help engraving your medical ID for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
How do you treat, manage, and live with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), treatment for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis will depend on whether the thyroid is damaged enough to cause hypothyroidism. If you do not have hypothyroidism, your doctor may choose regular monitoring of your hormone levels. If you have hypothyroidism, the most common treatment is a synthetic hormone known as levothyroxine. Sold under brand names such as Levothroid, Synthroid, and Levo-T, levothyroxine works by replacing T-4. Once T-4 levels have been restored, symptoms of hypothyroidism should improve.
While levothyroxine is a highly effective treatment for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, other medications, supplements, and even some foods can affect the body’s ability to absorb the drug.
- Aluminum hydroxide (found in some antacids)
- Calcium supplements
- Prevalite (medication used to lower blood cholesterol levels)
- High-fiber foods
- Iron supplements, including multivitamins that contain iron
- Soy products
- Sucralfate (an ulcer medication)
In some cases, a person living with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis may require a different treatment for better symptom control. In these cases, doctors might prescribe a synthetic T-3 hormone (Cytomel) or a synthetic T-4 and T-3 combination.
Regardless of the treatment plan, testing and monitoring will be lifelong, as thyroid medications can have a number of side effects from osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones) to arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats).
How medical IDs for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis combined with MedicAlert Membership provide peace of mind
A MedicAlert ID and protection plan can also play an important role in managing your health, while keeping you safe—for life. This is especially true in a medical emergency. A Hashimoto’s thyroiditis bracelet and protection plan can be there for you if you are unable to communicate critical information about your condition to first responders, ER doctors, and hospital staff in an emergency. Our Advantage Plus protection plan has you covered in emergency situations and even during your regular doctor visits.
Advantage Plus provides:
- 24/7 emergency response team to relay vital information to first responders, ensuring accurate care
- Emergency contact notification sent to loved ones, caretakers and designated physicians
- Digital health profile of all medications, mechanical devices, and other conditions – all in one place
- Information important to your care such as drug, supplement, and food interactions
- Personal document storage for information such as treatment plans, test results, and more
- Printable detailed profile for your medical appointments