What is Hashimoto’s Disease?
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease. The immune system is designed to protect the body from bacteria, viruses and foreign bodies. When the immune system starts to attack healthy cells, one can be said to have an autoimmune disease where the immune system starts to attack the thyroid gland of a person. The thyroid gland is part of a system called the endocrine system. The endocrine system secretes and releases hormones, necessary for the proper function of the cells, into the body. If the thyroid is in distress, then there will be no distribution of hormones which spells doom for the body. Hashimoto’s disease is rare and it can be life-threatening. The symptoms vary depending on the individual. Some people may experience frequent fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, puffy eyes, constipation, depression, enlarged thyroid (goiter), dry skin, rough skin, hair dryness stuff joints, weak muscles, high sensitivity to cold, slow heart rate and paleness.
Causes Hashimoto’s Disease?
There really isn`t any confirmed cause of Hashimoto’s disease. Medical experts cannot particularly identify what triggers the response of the immune system’s attack on the thyroid gland. Studies suggest that a virus or bacterium may be responsible for triggering a reacting from the immune system while some doctors believe that it is a genetic flaw of some kind as children can also have Hashimoto’s disease. Doctors may not be able to identify the cause of Hashimoto’s disease, however, they have identified some factors that may make an individual susceptible to this disease.
Hashimoto’s disease is not restricted to any age group, it can occur in infants, children and even adults but is commonly seen in middle-aged people.
This disease may more likely be hereditary. There is a higher risk of having Hashimoto’s disease if one has a family history of it or other autoimmune diseases.
People who are exposed to high levels of radiation are more susceptible to Hashimoto’s disease than people who aren`t.
Studies show that women are more susceptible to Hashimoto’s disease than men are.
It is important to seek medical help the moment one starts to experience frequent fatigue, dry skin, constipation or a pale face, so as to avoid some complications that may arise from untreated Hashimoto’s disease. Here are some of the possible complications:
Addison’s disease is a condition where the adrenal glands can not produce sufficient amounts of hormones. The adrenal glands are also endocrine glands that secrete a number of hormones such as cortisol, aldosterone, and adrenaline. The adrenal gland can be found just above the kidneys. The cortisol secreted helps the body to respond and adapt to stress, the aldosterone helps control blood pressure, while the adrenaline helps control the heart function, pupil dilation, and discretion of sweat and saliva. It also helps the body deal with stress. Addison’s disease is incurable; it can only be managed.
Graves’ disease is a condition where the thyroid secretes too many hormones. This condition can be treated and fired if detected quickly. Persons with Graves’ disease may experience hand tremors, weight loss, enlarged goiter (thyroid gland), sensitivity to heat, anxiety, irregular menstrual cycle, bulging eyes, fatigue, thick and red skin, usually spotted on the shin and frequent bowel movements. See a doctor immediately some of these symptoms are spotted.
Anemia is a condition in which there is adequate healthy red blood cells or hemoglobin. Having a few red blood cells is not good for the body as the cells in the body are deprived of enough oxygen. Persons with anemia would experience shortness of breath, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, cold hands and feet, irregular heartbeats, pale skin and weakness of the body. Some types of anemia can be treated and cured while some may lead to death if untreated.
Premature Ovarian Failure
Premature ovarian failure is a condition where the ovaries fail to produce adequate amounts of the estrogen hormone or release eggs. This can lead to infertility. This condition can be managed by restoring the estrogen levels to the patient which would help prevent any complication that may arise from having low estrogen levels. Persons with premature ovarian failure may experience hot flashes, vaginal dryness, night sweats, irregular menstrual cycle, reduced libido and difficulty in concentrating.
Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is a very severe condition where the pancreas produces an inadequate amount of insulin or none at all. Type 1 Diabetes can be seen in adults and children, it is not restricted to any age group. This condition has no cure, it can only be managed. The doctor has to make sure the blood sugar levels are managed with the appropriate amount of insulin and diet. Insulin regulates the amount of sugar in the bloodstream, it also allows sugar to enter the body cells. It is important for the body to produce and circulate failure to do so many become catastrophic.
How to Live with Hashimoto’s Disease
There are ways one can deal with living Hashimoto’s disease; one just has to be disciplined. Here are some ways of dealing with Hashimoto’s diseases.
One must learn to eat properly so the body does not fight itself. When one eats foods that are not healthy, they cause weight gain and leaky gut. Leaky gut? What does that mean? The small pores in one’s small intestine lining funnel out the food eaten in the body. Foods that are not chewed properly can widen these pores, thereby, letting food particles slip into the bloodstream. The immune system starts to fight these particles because they are perceived to be foreign bodies. If this continues for a long time, it can cause the immune system to fight healthy body cells. Chew food properly and eat a healthy diet.
Eliminate Gluten and Dairy from Diet
Gluten and dairy foods can cause leaky guts; they can cause the proteins they produce to go through the stomach into the small intestine, thereby producing inulin which enlarges the walls of the intestine. When the walls are enlarged, food particles seep into the bloodstream, causing the body to be inflamed. So, these foods should be avoided.
Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods
The body is already inflamed from the constant invasion of foods into the bloodstream. Eating foods that have anti-inflammatory properties would be quite helpful in reducing inflammation in the body. Here are foods that contain anti-inflammatory properties:
- Fatty Fish
- Olive Oil
The body is already deprived of hormones; using medications that would normalize the hormone level is important. Studies show that levothyroxine is a synthetic hormone given to persons with Hashimoto’s disease. This drug replaces the thyroid hormone the patient is deprived of. It is important for patients with Hashimoto’s disease to be monitored by their doctor. Using this medication would most likely return the hormone levels to normal, hereby, alleviating the symptoms and restoring some kind of normalcy. It is advised to continue going for check-ups, so the doctor can regulate the dosage. People with Hashimoto’s disease can live normal lives, with the adequate medical care of course.
Hashimoto’s disease is incurable, it can only be managed. Negligence can cause one to relapse after being stabilized. Getting an early diagnosis and treatment is important so as to avoid complications that could arise from having Hashimoto’s disease. Regular checkups would also help make sure one has a good quality of life.