Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a condition that is also known as Chronic Lymphocytic Thyroiditis. It is characterized as the thyroid being attacked by the immune system.
The disease was first described in 1912, by its namesake Hakaru Hashimoto. According to EndocrineWeb, around 14 million people are currently affected by the disease. This number is indicative of sufferers in the US alone.
Hashimoto’s disease causes the thyroid to become inflamed, which ultimately makes it underactive leading to hypothyroidism. According to information provided by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis commonly affects more women than men as the former is 8 times more likely to suffer. However, it can also affect men of any age including children.
Studies by the ISRN Endocrinology indicate that this disease is prevalent in 1-3 percent of the world’s population. Early diagnosis has increased due to better search efforts amongst patient’s families, as it may be hereditary.
For better understanding, here are 10 important facts regarding the disease, that could prove useful.
1. The Real Cause Is Yet To Be Discovered
The destructive nature of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the reason many scientists are constant in finding out the exact cause, besides the current evidence of predisposition. There appears to be a clear understanding of what the disease is, namely the destructive damage of the thyroid blood vessels, cells, and tissues of the lymphocytes. Ironically the lymphocytes are actually the immune cells, which are designed to protect the body from foreign substances such as harmful bacteria and viruses.
However, with this disease, in particular, they slowly erode these vial thyroid cells, and often when detected it has reached a critical stage. In the most extreme cases, this attack can result in a goiter, which is essentially an infected thyroid that has become enlarged and inflamed.
Some scientists speculate that the cause is from an infection, a virus that is destabilizing the body and others claim that genetics may be at play as well. This is the reason why some patient’s family history is taken into account.