3d rendered medically accurate illustration of thyroid cancer (Source: Shutterstock)
Hashimoto's disease (Hashimoto's thyroiditis) and thyroid disorders
Definition of Hashimoto's disease
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of the neck, below the larynx, and consists of two lobes connected by a strand in the middle.
Although the thyroid gland is only a very small organ, it is of great importance for the body. The hormones thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3) and thyreocalcitonine are produced in its tissue. The thyroid gland itself is directly influenced by regulatory hormones produced in the brain.
The thyroid hormones produced in this way regulate human growth, brain development and promote the breakdown of cholesterol in the liver. They also control the body's heat production and metabolism. In short, the thyroid gland is a hormone-producing gland connected to the autonomic nervous system.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis - named after the Japanese doctor who first described it in 1912 - is an autoimmune disease that has become increasingly common in recent decades. It is considered to be the most common thyroid disease.
Causes of Hashimoto's disease
Despite decades of research, the causes of Hashimoto's disease are still unknown. A genetic predisposition is suspected, in combination with great stress and possibly the predisposition to a severe viral disease such as shingles.
Other possible causes include:
iodine deficiency or surplus
toxin exposure, e.g. to mercury
Symptoms of Hashimoto's disease
Although up to ten percent of the population in western industrialized countries suffer from it, 80 percent of whom are women between 40 and 50 years of age, the correct diagnosis is often only made after many years. The symptoms are wide-ranging, contradictory, overlapping and varied.
In the early stages of the disease, the immune system is disrupted and attacks the body's own tissues without causing any noticeable symptoms. The thyroid gland tries to combat the destruction process and becomes overactive. The first consequences are weight loss, nervousness, insomnia and tachycardia.
In the further course of the untreated disorder, antibodies fight the thyroid tissue, it shrinks more and more and the system becomes underactive. This can have opposite consequences: you feel cold, gain weight, suffer from sluggishness and depression. If the disease remains untreated, the thyroid gland eventually disintegrates.
Treatment of Hashimoto's disease
The disease cannot be cured even with a holistic and safe treatment - autoimmune diseases are not curable - but it can be halted.
As with all autoimmune diseases, fighting and controlling individual symptoms - in this case through the additional administration of hormones - is not effective. Rather, the thyroid gland disorder indicates a disorder of the entire organism, including body and soul.