Medical malpractice compounds already difficult health circumstances. Struggling with an autoimmune condition such as Hashimoto’s disease is a challenging situation. When your healthcare provider fails to properly diagnose the disease or you experience a delayed diagnosis, it can have devastating consequences on your mental, emotional, and physical health. Issues range from a lack of proper treatment to serious, life-threatening complications. Here is a closer look at what patients needed to know about Hashimoto’s disease and medical malpractice.
What is Hashimoto’s Hypothyroiditis?
Your thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the front of your throat that secretes hormones which regulate your metabolism, body temperature, growth patterns, and more. Hashimoto’s, which is sometimes referred to as Hashimoto’s hypothyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. A patient that is affected with this condition has an immune system that produces antibodies against the thyroid’s peroxidase enzyme. When these immune cells attack the thyroid, it causes damage to the organ. Over time, enough damage occurs that thyroid hormones are no longer normally produced. Because they plan an essential role in regulating the metabolism, a number of symptoms can occur.
What are the Symptoms?
Hashimoto’s is typically associated with hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism indicates that too little hormone is being produced. As a result, the metabolism slows and the body begins to react to stimuli in a sluggish fashion. Specific symptoms of Hashimoto’s involve an inability to tolerate the cold, digestive changes such as constipation, joint problems like aches and pains, lower body temperatures, difficulty concentrating, a slow heart rate, and emotional changes including depression.
Some people experience weight gain, a goiter, dry skin and hair, fatigue, high cholesterol, and swelling in the extremities. A clinician seeing these signs should test for Hashimoto’s. If left untreated, there are numerous potential complications of Hashimoto’s disease ranging from heart failure and cardiomyopathy to coma and even death.
Identifying Hashimoto’s Disease
Patients who present the symptoms above should receive testing for numerous autoimmune disorders, including Hashimoto’s. However, clinicians should recognize a number of specific risk factors that can increase the likelihood that symptoms are being caused by Hashimoto’s:
- Gender: Females are as much as five times likelier to be affected;
- Genetics: There’s a genetic component to the disease, and a family history of Hashimoto’s indicates a higher likelihood that a patient may be affected;
- Autoimmune clusters: Autoimmune diseases may occur in groups. An individual with another autoimmune disease, such as celiac disease or multiple sclerosis, should be tested for Hashimoto’s.
Have you or a loved one been affected by a Hashimoto’s disease misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis? If so, you may be eligible for damages. Contact Rasmussen and Miner today to arrange for a confidential consultation and to discuss your case.