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Thyroid gland
Thyroid gland


Definition:

Silent thyroiditis is swelling (inflammation) of the thyroid gland, in which the person alternates between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism .



Alternative Names:

Lymphocytic thyroiditis; Subacute lymphocytic thyroiditis; Painless thyroiditis



Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

The cause of this type of thyroiditis is unknown. The disease affects women more often than men. It usually develops in people ages 13 - 80.



Symptoms:

The earliest symptoms are those of overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). These symptoms may last for 3 months or fewer. Later symptoms may be of an underactive thyroid (including fatigue and cold intolerance) until the thyroid recovers.

Symptoms are usually mild and may include:



Signs and tests:

A physical examination may show:

  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Shaking hands

Tests may show:



Treatment:

Treatment is based on symptoms. Beta-blockers relieve rapid heart rate and excessive sweating.



Support Groups:



Expectations (prognosis):

Generally, silent thyroiditis will go away on its own within 1 year. The acute phase will end within 3 months.

Some people may develop hypothyroidism over time. Regular follow-ups with a doctor are recommended.



Complications:

Hypothyroidism may develop.



Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of this condition.



Prevention:



References:

AACE Thyroid Task Force. American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists Medical Guidelines for Clinical Practice for the Evaluation and Treatment of Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism. Endocr Pract. 2002;8:459.

Ladenson P, Kim M. Thyroid. In: Goldman L and Ausiello D, eds. Goldman: Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa:Saunders;2007:chap 244.




Review Date: 6/17/2008
Reviewed By: Elizabeth H. Holt, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Yale University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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