Stop the Thyroid Madness Newsletter

The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body’s activities. Many people are not entirely aware of this.  I got this newsletter today and decided to share it.  Let’s be more educated regarding thyroid issues!

Stop The Thyroid Madness Newsletter

If you have Hashimotos, you may want to become aware of this rare associated condition.

Posted: 22 Jun 2010 09:21 PM PDT

I recently got an email from a sweet thyroid friend and advocate, Bev, aka Thyro-butterfly, whom I’ve known for several years. And Bev has had two relapsing and unnerving bouts with a condition that’s not common but under-diagnosed: Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy.

She stated “I think everyone who has Hashi’s should know that this exists because the symptoms are so similar to severe neurological problems. And, though not curable, the treatment is relatively easy to do.…”

Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy (HE), a rare neuroendocrine disorder which was termed and recognized just 44 years ago in 1966, has a strong connection to the autoimmune thyroid disease called Hashimotos, or Thyroiditis. i.e.  just as antibodies attack your thyroid, there are rare cases where it can attack and destroy your brain cells. Having a high thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies lab result  is common with Hashimoto’s Encephalopathy.

Those with HE can share many symptoms, or can have unique symptoms from each other. Symptoms include:

  • tremors (most common symptom)
  • language difficulty, whether speaking, writing or read (also common)
  • confusion
  • limited attention span or concentration
  • poor memory and retention
  • dementia diagnosis
  • disorientation
  • restlessness
  • seizures
  • convulsions
  • symptoms similar to a stroke
  • tremors
  • muscle jerking
  • poor coordination (walking, fingers, hands, etc)
  • partial right-sided paralysis
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • sleep problems
  • psychosis
  • coma

Luckily, treatment is fairly straightforward and dramatic against symptoms: steroid use, which is why it’s also termed “steroid-responsive encephalopathy associated with autoimmune thyroiditis (SREAT)”. Says Elaine Moore in her article  titled Hashimotos encephalopathy: A Treatable Form of Dementia,  “Patients with SREAT show a good response to corticosteroids such as prednisone and related immunosuppressants because of the ability of these medications to reduce thyroid antibody production and reduce inflammation. Researchers in India report a case of SREAT that did not respond to corticosteroids but showed a very favorable response to plasma exchange, a technique used to remove circulating antibodies.”

Doses of steroid can vary from individual to individual, but some do well on 4–6 mg cortisol for a few days. Others may need more.  Remission is the norm for most. You’ll have to watch for relapses.

Since misdiagnosis is common, it’s important to talk to your doctor about this potential disorder, testing, and treatment if you have Hashi’s and symptoms similar to any of the above.


About martisima

After over 50 years of teaching literature to undergraduate and graduate students, I feel I have earned my retirement (it happened when I was 72, five years ago). I do miss the classroom, however, but not the meetings and all other requirements of the profession. I love teaching, and wish I could still do it. But now I read for pleasure, and watch films, and listen to all kinds of music (no TV, though). I love to travel, and hope I can resume doing it soon. I need to get over my health issues caused by thyroid surgery three years ago!
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