Hashimoto’s disease, also referred to as chronic autoimmune lymphocytic thyroiditis, affects the thyroid by disrupting the production of hormones. The thyroid is responsible for important body functions like regulating the metabolism, body temperature, and muscle strength. When these hormones (also known as thyroxine or T4) are impacted, it causes an array of symptoms.
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You likely have never heard of Hashimoto’s disease, but according to Healthline, it’s the most common cause of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) in the United States. This thyroid disease causes the body’s immune system to attack your thyroid gland, leading to inflammation, and subsequently an underactive thyroid. While it primarily affects middle-aged women, it can also occur in men, as well as people of any age — even children. Let’s look at 12 facts about this disease that affects thousands of Americans…
1. Its Exact Cause Isn’t Known
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disease, which is a group of diseases that are still being studied. However, the basic premise is that your body’s defense systems are somehow tricked into thinking healthy tissue is a threat and turns against it.
The Mayo Clinic says that some scientists believe the trigger for this particular disease may be a virus or bacterial infection, and others believe there’s a genetic link. There could be other risk factors, which we’ll look more closely at next.