An autoimmune condition that affects the thyroid gland is called Hashimoto’s disease. The thyroid gland is at the base of the neck, right below the Adam’s apple. The gland creates hormones that assist in controlling a variety of bodily processes.
An autoimmune disorder is a condition where healthy tissues are attacked by the immune system. Immune system cells in Hashimoto’s disease cause the thyroid’s hormone-producing cells to die. In most cases, the condition causes a reduction in hormone production (hypothyroidism).
Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism, the process by which your body converts food into energy. When your body lacks energy, its functions become impaired and slow down.
While Hashimoto’s disease can affect anyone, it is more commonly observed in middle-aged women. The primary treatment for this condition is thyroid hormone replacement therapy.
Other names for Hashimoto’s illness include chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, chronic autoimmune thyroiditis, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Hashimoto’s disease progresses slowly over time, and in some cases, there may be no noticeable symptoms or signs of illness. However, as thyroid hormone production decreases, the following outcomes may occur:
- Fatigued and inactive
- Feeling cold easily
- Skin dryness
- Memory or concentration issues
- Weak muscles
- Pain, soreness, and stiffness in the muscles
- Stiff and painful joint
- Easily broken nails
- Hair loss
- Swollen thyroid (goiter)
- Swollen face
- Tongue enlargement
- Gaining weight
- Slow pulse rate
- Unusually heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding
The symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease are not specific to this condition and can vary greatly. As there are multiple other conditions that could cause similar symptoms, it is crucial to consult a doctor promptly to receive an accurate and timely diagnosis.
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system produces antibodies that attack the thyroid cells, mistaking them for germs, viruses, or other foreign substances. This immune response involves the use of destructive disease-fighting substances that damage and destroy the cells.
The exact cause of the immune system targeting thyroid cells in Hashimoto’s disease is not fully understood. However, potential factors that may trigger the onset of this disease include:
- Hereditary factors
- Environmental factors, such as stress, radiation exposure, or infection
- Genetic and environmental influences interacting
A higher risk of developing Hashimoto’s disease is linked to the following factors:
- Age. Though it can strike at any age, Hashimoto’s disease most frequently strikes in the middle age.
- Gender. Hashimoto’s illness is significantly more common in women.
- Genetics and family history. If there are thyroid conditions or other autoimmune diseases in your family, you are more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease.
- Other autoimmune disease. Your risk of acquiring Hashimoto’s disease increases if you already have an autoimmune condition such lupus, type 1 diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Pregnancy. The Hashimoto’s disease that develops after pregnancy may be influenced by typical changes in immunological function during pregnancy.
- Radiation exposure. Hashimoto’s illness is more common in people who are exposed to high doses of environmental radiation.
- Too much intake of iodine. People who are already at risk for Hashimoto’s disease may be triggered by eating too much iodine.