People use chemistry every day in their careers for many purposes. Engineering, lab technicians, and nursing are just a few of the professions that chemistry is necessary to succeed. In the medical field, chemistry is used to diagnose and treat diseases. Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack the thyroid gland (Davies & Saul, n.d.). In most cases, patients who had or have Hashimoto’s Disease will get hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones, it is underactive. By using chemistry, the dosage changes and diagnostic tests are better understood.
To diagnose Hashimoto’s Disease, the patient’s blood must be drawn to test for thyroid antibodies and hormones. These antibodies are anti-thyroglobulin and antithyroperoxidase. The blood levels of the hormones and antibodies use chemistry by showing the amounts that are being released into the body. Knowing this amount displays how these hormones are reacting in the body. An example of this is the thyroid-simulation hormone (TSH). TSH may be monitored to detect hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Disease. If the TSH levels are high, the patient may have hypothyroidism and/or Hashimoto’s Disease. This is because the person’s body is producing more chemicals to get the thyroid to work. “A positive correlation was observed in HT patients between circulating TSH levels and the proportion of committed Th17 cells, as determined by the proportion of Th17 cells induced by anti-CD3/anti-CD28 beads” (Kristensen, Hegedüs, Madsen, Smith, & Nielsen, 2015). In a recent study, heat shock protein 60 (HSP60), was found in patients who have Hashimoto’s Disease. HSP60 was found due to immunohistochemistry, seeing antibodies bound on the antigens of biological tissue. “Immunohistochemistry showed that Hsp60 was abundantly present in specimens from HT but not in those from goiter” (Gammazza et al., 2014). Without chemistry, the medical profession would not understand test results enough to diagnose Hashimoto’s Disease. Understanding how certain hormones, antibodies, and proteins work; a nurse is able to understand why the blood levels look the way they do.
Treatment for Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Disease usually is medications to replace the thyroid hormones the person is not receiving. Levothyroxine is a artificial form of the Thyroxine (T4) hormone. T4 is one of the major hormones of the thyroid gland, so this medication is commonly used by patients with hypothyroidism. Knowing how the original hormone, T4, works makes it possible to create such supplements. Doctors and nurses must understand the chemistry of these supplemental hormones so they can change the dosage fitting to the patient’s needs. “Thyroxine is released from thyroglobulin by proteolysis and secreted into the blood. Thyroxine is peripherally deiodinated to form TRIIODOTHYRONINE which exerts a broad spectrum of stimulatory effects on cell metabolism” (Levothyroxine, n.d.).
In conclusion, the medical field must have a good understanding of chemistry in order to diagnose and treat diseases such as Hashimoto’s Disease. For example, knowing the chemistry of the natural thyroid hormones, one can predict the outcome of an overdose of the synthetic hormones. “When given in high doses, thyroid hormone preparations can cause mild serum enzyme elevations. In addition, standard doses of levothyroxine have been linked to rare instances of mild, immunoallergic liver injury” (Levothyroxine, n.d.).