What is Silent Thyroiditis?

Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland. There are different kinds of thyroiditis, including Silent Thyroiditis. Silent Thyroiditis is an immune reaction of the thyroid gland. It is also known as other alternative names, including: Silent lymphocytic Thyroiditis, Subacute lymphocytic Thyroiditis, Painless Thyroiditis, or Postpartum Thyroiditis. Within this article we will look at Silent Thyroiditis specifically. If you are seeking a professional’s opinion or insight, please reach out and contact a doctor you trust.

How Common is Silent Thyroiditis?

Silent Thyroiditis is more common among women than men. Additionally, research shows that Silent Thyroiditis is more likely to occur in women who are middle-aged. Although individuals of all ages can be affected by Silent Thyroiditis, the incident rate is much higher in middle-aged adults.

There are a few risk factors of Silent Thyroiditis, including:

  • Gender (female)
  • Age (middle-aged adults)
  • Family history of Silent Thyroiditis
  • Autoimmune disorders (systemic lupus erythematosus)
  • Medicines (interferon and amiodarone)
  • Chemotherapy that affects the immune system

The list above demonstrates just a few risk factors associated with Silent Thyroiditis. However, the risk factors listed do not always lead to the condition. The risk factors are intended to show an individual’s chances of getting a certain disease or condition. Certain risk factors can be more significant than others depending on your condition. Speak to your healthcare provider about your concerns and discuss the effects of certain risk factors.

Cause

There is no known cause of Silent Thyroiditis. However, Silent Thyroiditis is believed to be related to an immune attack against the thyroid. This is because of the hyperactivity of the immune system.

Because there is no known cause of Silent Thyroiditis, there are also no known preventative strategies.

Symptoms

Depending on the state of Silent Thyroiditis, symptoms can differ. Hyperthyroidism is the beginning state and symptoms can last up to three months. However, this phase can be overlooked and not last very long. On the other hand, hypothyroidism occurs when the condition progresses and can be permanent. Below you will find some symptoms associated with each state.

During hyperthyroidism you may experience the following signs:

  • Difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • Extreme hunger
  • Excessive sweating
  • Irritation
  • Nervousness
  • Abnormal or rapid heartbeat rate
  • Protrusion of eyes
  • Weight loss
  • Menstruation in women can be irregular or short

During hypothyroidism you may experience the following signs:

  • Enlarged or swollen thyroid gland
  • Shrunken thyroid gland
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Sensitive to the cold
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Menstruation irregularities in women

Diagnosis

Silent Thyroiditis is not often undiagnosed until hypothyroidism occurs. In order to receive a correct diagnosis, you will need to undergo a clinical evaluation. This can include a blood test that allows for the analysis of increased levels of thyroid hormones T3 and T4.Your doctor can determine your thyroid dysfunction through serum thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), and TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels. Your doctor can also recommend radioactive iodine uptake or an ultrasound scan of your thyroid gland if necessary. However, tests may not be necessary to make a correct diagnosis depending on your condition.

More simple tests include a physical examination and a look at your medical history. Your healthcare provider will notice whether or not you are experiencing common symptoms, such as an enlarged thyroid gland, increased heart rate, and shaking hands.

Thyroid scintigraphy helps differentiate Silent Thyroiditis from Grave’s hyperthyroidism. The level of radiotracer accumulation determines whether you have Silent Thyroiditis or Grave’s hyperthyroidism. Your doctor may suggest performing additional tests in order to ensure your symptoms are not connected to a separate condition.

Treatment

Because it is a self-limiting condition, Silent Thyroiditis can resolve on its own depending on its stage. However, there are treatment options if your condition worsens. A beta-blocker helps during the treatment process because it can relieve your elevated heart rate as well as excessive sweating. Beta-blockers are used during the hyperthyroid phase. There are times when thyroid hormone replacement is necessary if hypothyroidism continues. Thyroid hormone replacement is usually used during the hypothyroid phase.

Your doctor may ask you to receive follow-up care, including screening and check-ups. Try and avoid all surgery, especially because it is not required during the treatment process. Get lots of rest and to not overly exert one self during treatment.

Conclusion

Silent Thyroiditis is more common among women during the postpartum period. However, it is possible for an individual of any age or gender to develop the condition. Recovery is more likely to occur during hyperthyroidism rather than hypothyroidism. Diagnosis and treatment can vary depending on the phase of the condition. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms similar to Silent Thyroiditis, contact a doctor you trust. Having both professional and emotional support is key during the diagnosis and treatment processes.

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