Otherwise known as auto-immune thyroiditis. You or someone you know probably have some form of thyroid disorder. At the moment, thyroid disease has reached epidemic proportions and it’s only getting worse. Hashimoto’s disease is the most common thyroid disease. It’s characterized by chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland, hindering it’s ability to function normally. Reduced thyroid function is called hypothyroidism and is often associated with weight gain, lethargy, and inadequate growth in children. Yes, children. This used to be a disease that mostly affected aging women. So, what happened.
What Causes Hashimoto’s Disease?
Hashimoto’s occurs when the immune system deviates from its normal function and begins to attack healthy cells in the thyroid as if they were foreign invaders. The immune system attacks the thyroid by producing antibodies, slowly deteriorating the gland’s ability to produce thyroid hormones. The aggregation of white blood cells, or lymphocytes, propels the process behind Hashimoto’s disease.
Compared with men, women are 7-9 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disorder. It is estimated that 20 million people have been diagnosed. It seems that estrogen dominance in women reduces iodine absorption in the thyroid, possibly contributing to the increased risk in the female population. Genetic predispositions are a key factor in Hashimoto’s disease. Then the gene can be activated through too many toxins entering the body, food sensitivities, parasites in the gut, and most importantly and common, chronic stress.
Signs and Symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease
As the disease progresses, the thyroid gland may enlarge, giving the appearance of a swollen neck. Known as goiter, it’s commonly associated with hypothyroidism, a symptom related to Hashimoto’s disease. An underactive thyroid associated with Hashimoto’s disease usually results in:
- Weight gain
- Sluggish metabolism
- Cold intolerance
- Paleness and puffiness in the face
- Joint and muscular aches
- Dry, brittle, thinning hair
- Irregular periods
- Shallow/slowed heart rate
- Difficulty conceiving
With many of these symptoms, it isn’t uncommon that some patients are diagnosed with depression before they are diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. For some individuals, Hashimoto’s disease may present little to no symptoms, making it harder for doctors to diagnose or treat crucial thyroid issues.
There is hope though. Through the right nutrition, diet and lifestyle changes, this can be put into full remission without the use of medications. Health comes from not only what you put into your body, but from within as well. Look inward to nourish your soul, your emotions, your life.
Affirmation: Now is the time to envision your life the way you want it to be and to take action in that direction. —Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine
Have you ever experienced these symptoms or had problems with your thyroid? What were some of the things you did to contribute toward your health? Where are you emotionally? Leave a comment and share your experience!