Your thyroid gland is situated at the front of your neck, below the larynx (Adam’s apple.) This butterfly-shaped gland sits on either side of the trachea (windpipe). A healthy thyroid gland doesn’t protrude from the neck, and you will struggle to feel it with your fingers.
Your thyroid secretes hormones responsible for regulating metabolic rate, cardiovascular function, digestion, muscular control, mood, and cognitive development. The thyroid requires iodine from dietary sources to maintain optimal function. This vital gland is at risk of disease and infection from environmental toxins, as well as, excessive physiological and psychological stress.
Over 14 million people across the United States live with an underactive thyroid condition known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. This chronic auto-immune disease creates excessive levels of inflammation in the thyroid gland. Many people living with Hashimoto’s aren’t aware that they have the condition. Symptoms related to the disease are often subtle and misdiagnosed as stress from a busy lifestyle.
Here are 10 details you should know about Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
1. Hashimoto’s Disease Explained
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis receives its name from the Japanese surgeon who first diagnosed the disease in 1912. This autoimmune disorder creates signals in the brain that rally immune cells to attack a healthy, functioning thyroid gland. This autoimmune attack creates inflammation in thyroid tissue, resulting in Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Women are 7 times more likely to develop Hashimoto’s thyroiditis than men.
The thyroid gland secrets triiodothyronine and thyroxine. The thyroid produces only 20% of the active hormone, triiodothyronine. The remaining 80% comes from thyroxine converted to triiodothyronine by organs such as the liver and kidneys. These hormones play a vital role in regulating a wide variety of metabolic functions. A dysfunctional thyroid creates a hormonal imbalance in the body that disrupts normal metabolic processes such as digestion, body temperature, and energy regulation.
Hashimoto’s disease prevents the thyroid from producing adequate amounts of thyroid hormone, developing a hormone deficiency that can result in hyperthyroidism. This autoimmune disorder is the most common cause of hypothyroidism.