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Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Will My Immune System Attack Other Glands After Thyroid Removal?
If my immune system is attacking my thyroid, and I have my thyroid removed, will my immune system start to attack something else in my body?
We don't really understand why the immune system attacks certain glands in the body. A person whose immune system attacks the thyroid gland is statistically at a small risk for developing immune attacks on other glands in the body - like the adrenal glands, pancreas, and parathyroid glands. This small risk would be present whether the thyroid were removed or not - the immune system doesn't get mad when its victim is removed and start looking around for other glands to attack.
Note that only a small number of people with autoimmune thyroid disease wind up developing other autoimmune glandular diseases - the vast majority get thyroid disease and nothing else.
Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University