What is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?
This disease causes inflammation of your thyroid (a small butterfly-shaped gland in your neck near your Adam’s apple). It is an auto-immune disease, which means it causes your body to attack its own tissue.
With Hashimoto’s thyroiditis the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid causing inflammation and tissue damage. Antibodies are made by white blood cells to fight germs and infections. But in Hashimoto’s, auto-antibodies (antibodies which attack normal tissue) are made by white blood cells and appear in the bloodstream.
The result is an infiltration of immune cells into your thyroid gland and damage to the thyroid tissue. As a result, your thyroid gland then reduces its production of hormones, which leads to an underactive thyroid gland (known as hypothyroidism).
Who Suffers from Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis?
This disease progresses slowly, and causes chronic thyroid damage. It is life-long, but with the correct treatment, healthy nutrition and exercise, it can be managed effectively.
Often, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is mild and can go undetected for a number of months or years. Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of primary hypothyroidism in the United States. Women are more commonly affected than men at a ratio of 8:1 and it is most prevalent in the 30-50 age group.
Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis affects approximately 15 million women in the United States, most presenting with Hashimoto’s in middle age. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is more common in those individuals with a history of thyroid disease, other autoimmune conditions or other endocrine disorders.