Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in youth and adults in the U.S. and developed countries. The Japanese surgeon, Hakaru Hashimoto, discovered the disease in 1912. This autoimmune condition is sometimes referred to as chronic autoimmune thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis.
Hashimoto’s can affect men and women of any age. However, it primarily affects women at least 10 times more frequently than it affects men. Most women are diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 50.
The thyroid is a crucial organ in the endocrine system, and it regulates a wide range of body functions. It influences the rate at which every cell, tissue, and organ in the body functions. This includes the bones, brain, GI tract, heart, muscles, and skin. The thyroid secretes hormones that manage metabolism, controlling how quickly and efficiently the cells convert nutrients into energy.
As Hashimoto’s progresses, it damages the thyroid, which causes hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid fails to produce enough hormones to meet the body’s needs. Typically, the thyroid will become enlarged, which inhibits its functioning. As the immune system attacks it, the thyroid continues to increase in size. The enlarged gland may inhibit the ability to swallow or cause a feeling of pressure. The condition may cause goiter in some people resulting in the need to surgically remove the gland.
Hashimoto’s can eventually render the thyroid nonfunctional. Over time, the disease causes the thyroid to shrink rather than grow larger. Without adequate thyroid hormones and a fully functioning thyroid, many bodily functions become sluggish, and your health may decline. This autoimmune condition is associated with common health problems like celiac disease, anemia, and insufficient adrenaline production.
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