According to the Mayo Clinic, Hashimoto's disease is a disorder that affects your thyroid…the thyroid is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body's activities (from digestion to metabolism to reproduction)…Hashimoto's disease is an autoimmune disorder in which your immune system creates antibodies that damage your thyroid gland. The disease causes inflammation of your thyroid gland (thyroiditis), which may impair the ability of your thyroid to produce hormones, leading to an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism). Then, your pituitary gland attempts to stimulate your thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormones, thus causing your thyroid gland to enlarge (goiter).
So, what does this mean? Not much, really. I need to watch my TSH levels. They need to be kept lower than normal. My thyroid will eventually "die." But this means my levels and symptoms will even out and I will be completely dependent on synthetic thyroid hormones (which doctors prefer, I have been told). It is more reliable. Hashimoto's, because it is an endocrine, autoimmune disease, can lead to lots of other, unsavory things, but this is extremely unlikely as I am on medication and have been.
I really am extraordinarily relieved to know what my issue is. I've known I've had an issue and it feels good to finally have that confirmed. Having Hashi's is really no different than plain hypothyroidism in regards to treatment and outcome. But, there is always the possibility of having more endocrine issues.
One final note...I did ask the doc about avoiding goitrogenic foods (this was distressing me as many on the list are regulars in my diet) and he said that I would create more problems than solve by eliminating these foods. He told me there was no way I'd ever be able to eat enough soy to inhibit iodine absorption at a level that would affect anything. I'm still breathing a sigh of relief. :0)