The Hypothyroid and Hashimoto's Disease Connection

Hashimoto's Disease seems to have little to do with the function of the thyroid. This disease is actually a disorder of the autoimmune system. The immune system creates antibodies that are meant to keep the body safe from viruses and other intrusions. These antibodies, which are white and red blood cells fight off viruses and protect the body. With Hashimoto's Disease the antibodies attack the thyroid and the result is hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is an under active thyroid. This gland is part of the body's endocrine system and provides hormones to keep other functions operating properly. Many of the body's activities are coordinated or maintained by the hormones created by the thyroid gland. When the thyroid stops producing these necessary hormones, the pituitary gland tries to stimulate it. This causes the thyroid to enlarge.

Hashimoto's Disease has no direct symptoms but hypothyroidism can display many. As the thyroid stops producing essential hormones the body starts sending different signals to let you know that all systems are not functioning normally. The symptoms vary widely based on the severity of the deficiency level of hormones. Hashimoto's Disease progresses slowly over several years. This can cause much damage to the thyroid gland, especially since it can go unnoticed for such a long period of time.

As hypothyroidism begins to display itself it is many times dismissed as simply aging naturally. Some of the most common symptoms displayed by hypothyroidism (caused by Hashimoto's Disease) are also typical with maturing in general. For instance, aching joints, specifically hips and shoulders, are common with both hypothyroidism and aging. The tenderness and stiffness of these joints are accepted as we age and cause no alarm in general. Other symptoms missed are fatigue or sluggishness. Our hectic schedules or age may catch the blame rather than looking for a deeper cause.

Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism caused by Hashimoto's Disease are an increased sensitivity to cold temperatures, excessive weight gain and muscle weakness, particularly in the lower extremities of the body. One might notice a puffy face, dry skin or a hoarse voice. Depression is common with an under active thyroid condition as is constipation and an elevated cholesterol level.

There is no treatment for Hashimoto's Disease; but thyroid hormone treatment will ease the symptoms of hypothyroidism. It is usually very effective and relatively simple. Most cases exerience improvement and success. A quick trip to the doctor can expose the existence of Hashimoto's Disease and relieve the symptoms that are caused by hypothyroidism.