Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an auto immune disease. Thyroid gland is located in the lower part of the neck and it is in the shape of a butterfly. It produces two hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
These hormones get released into the bloodstream. They are required for controlling the speed of different functions in the body.
The body produces antibodies which are defense chemicals. They are meant for acting against viruses or other germs. Theses antibodies sometimes act against the thyroid cells. This is known as autoimmune destruction and this process is irreversible. The damage to thyroid cells taking place continues. This in turn affects the functioning of the thyroid gland and the hormone output gets reduced. This condition is known as hypothyroidism.
This disease is common in women in the age group of 30-50 years of age. There is increased risk of Hashimoto’s disease if one member in the family has this disease. We are still not sure why people get this disease.
While the under active thyroid condition is known hypothyroidism, there are times when the thyroid becomes overactive. This condition is known as hyperthyroidism. Sometimes, temporary or permanent under active thyroid is preceded by overactive thyroid condition which is known as hyperthyroidism. Certain foods and medicines that contain iodine can also cause this. In many cases the onset of Hashimoto’s and the increase in antibodies have variety of symptoms. They include fatigue, weight changes, depression, hair loss, muscle and joint aches, sensitivity to colds, cramps, memory loss, constipation, infertility, and recurrent miscarriages.
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