Definition of Hashimoto disease

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Hashimoto disease: A progressive disease of the thyroid gland characterized by the presence of antibodies directed against the thyroid and by infiltration of the thyroid gland by lymphocytes (white blood cells activated by the immune system). Hashimoto disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in North America and Europe. In Hashimoto disease, the thyroid gland is usually enlarged (goiter) and has a decreased ability to make thyroid hormones. Hashimoto disease predominantly affects women, and it can be inherited. Also known as autoimmune thyroiditis and Hashimoto thyroiditis.


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