AN AUTOIMMUNE DISORDER
When Hakaru Hashimoto was 35, he gave up what was beginning to be a very bright academic career to go back home and take over the family practice. Because his family needed him. It was Hakaru Hashimoto who first described the symptoms of Chronic Lymphocytic Thyroiditis, (or Hashimoto's Disease) in a German publication in 1912. Hakaru Hashimoto was the third born son of a family which had been practicing medicine for generations. He was born May 5, 1881 in the village of Midau in Japan.
At 52, Hakaru Hashimoto contracted Thryroid Fever at a patient's home and died from it in January of 1934. Hashimoto passed away before getting recognition for his work. It was Hashimoto who said, "Medicine is a benevolent art."
Hashimoto's Disease is an inversion of the immune system on the thyroid gland. It causes a chemical imbalance in the body and symptoms include (but may not be limited to) hypothyroidism, weight gain, enlarged thyroid gland or what is known as a "goiter", fatigue and sluggishness. Look for a "tightness" in the throat and difficulty swallowing food and liquid.
There are four "histological characteristics" of Hashimoto's Disease. They are: 1) Formation of lymphoid follicles (accessory cells for B cells) 2) Marked changes in the thyroid epithelial cells 3) Extensive formation of new connective tissue 4) Diffuse round cell infiltration.
Sometimes, Hashimoto Disease is linked with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma and it is characterized by leukocytes invasion of the thyroid tissue.
A blood test of the thyroid tissue is required for diagnosis. This disease is far more prevalent among women than men and usually occurs between the ages of 45 and 65.
If there is no indication of hormone deficiency and your thyroid is operating normally, then the doctor may approach the disease in an observational manner. As in, watch, wait and see. Synthetic Levothyroxine is usually prescribed when hormone deficiency occurs. Synthetic Levothyroxine is merely a substitute for a hormone the thyroid gland makes naturally within your body called, Thyroxine.
Usually, if you've gained weight, this medication will cause you to lose it and the fatigue you'd been experiencing should stop.
As with any auto immune disease, it is a good idea to allow the doctor to assess the situation. This condition should not be ignored and can be detected with a simple blood test.
Hakaru Hashimoto was a very dedicated physician and it was during obsessional research, that he discovered this disease, that it might be recognized and treated. He actually correlated two goiters to cases of hyperthyroidism, which led him to conclude that hyperthyroidism was a symptom of Hashimoto's Disease, not a disease itself, in this particular circumstance.
Sources: www.mayoclinic.com www.ualberta.ca www.ehow.com www.endocrinetoday.com