What causes Hashimoto's disease?
Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disease. Normally, antibodies produced by the immune system help protect the body against viruses, bacteria and other foreign substances. An autoimmune disease is when your immune system produces antibodies that attack your body's tissues and/or organs. With Hashimoto's disease, antibodies attack the thyroid.
Who gets Hashimoto's disease?
Although Hashimoto's disease can affect people of all ages, it's most common in women who are between 30 and 50 years of age. If someone in your family has had thyroid disease, you may have an increased risk for Hashimoto's disease. Doctors are not sure why people get this disease.
Thyroiditis: Differential Diagnosis and Management by J Slatosky, D.O., B Shipton, D.O., and H Wahba, M.D. (American Family Physician February 15, 2000, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20000215/1047.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff