13 Dec Highlighting Hashimoto’s
Thyroid problems easily go unnoticed, with up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease being unaware of their condition. At Cerebrum, we see this as a crucial reason to point out the commonality, symptoms, and treatments of thyroid conditions. Raising awareness can help others, who may not know what’s wrong with them, to tackle this problem early on before suffering subsequent conditions.
Hashimoto’s and Hypothyroidism
The autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto’s disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States, affecting about 5 people out of 100 and being at least 8 times more common in women. Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, takes place when the thyroid gland–the small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck–isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone. This brings us to Hashimoto’s, a disease in which the immune system basically attacks the thyroid using antibodies that damage thyroid cells. In turn, the thyroid is unable to make the hormones needed.
Thyroid Keeps You Up to Speed
Hashimoto’s is detrimental to daily life as it progresses. Without enough thyroid hormone, many of the body’s functions slow down, as the thyroid hormone actually controls how the body uses energy. The hormone is released directly into the bloodstream, allowing it to affect every other part of the body, including your heart beat, brain functioning, muscles, or skin. That’s why, for many who have Hashimoto’s or a form of hypothyroidism, they feel fatigued and suffer from many other forms of decreased functioning.
Signs and Symptoms of Hashimoto’s
Unfortunately, many who have this disease show no symptoms for years; however, an enlarged thyroid, known as a goiter, can often be the first sign. As mentioned, the underactive thyroid is a common result of Hashimoto’s, so looking for signs of an underactive thyroid, specifically, can help you pinpoint your condition. Look for the following signs of an underactive thyroid:
- Weight gain
- Feeling too cold
- Dry, thinning hair
- Pale, puffy face
- Joint and muscle pain
- Memory problems
- Slowed heart rate
- Heavy or irregular menstrual periods
- Trouble becoming pregnant
Autoimmune Causes and Treatment
It isn’t yet known exactly what causes some individuals to develop autoimmune disorders. However, it is very likely that they result from genes and/or an outside trigger, like a virus or bacteria. To diagnose Hashimoto’s, medical professionals may practice medical and physical exams, along with bloodwork. In order to really treat hypothyroidism as a result of Hashimoto’s, the lacking hormone must be supplemented some other way. In this case, it’s likely that would lead to a type of medication that would provide the missing hormone. This ongoing treatment process will be monitored by a doctor, making sure the medication is kept at a proper dosage.
In the meantime, keep your iodine intake up, as the thyroid needs iodine to produce thyroid hormone, and the body doesn’t produce it on its own. Iodized table salt is rich in iodine, and foods including shellfish, saltwater fish, eggs, dairy products, soy milk, soy sauce, and others.
Although symptoms do seem to be latent in this disease, look into your medical history and your family medical history for any predictors. Start now with your iodine levels, and notice your overall feelings of fatigue or tiredness as a sign to get checked out for other conditions as well. Chronic fatigue could be a sign of several things, so it couldn’t hurt to be aware and take action sooner rather than later.