Could it be your thyroid?

Could it be your thyroid?

Hashimoto’s disease affects women more

Your thyroid may not be something you think about until something goes wrong.

The small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck controls how the body uses energy. As the “master regulator” of the body, the thyroid affects the function of nearly every organ, including the heart, lungs, bones, and central nervous system.

Thyroid disease occurs when the thyroid makes too much hormone (hyperthyroidism) or too little hormone (hypothyroidism). The most common type of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, named after the Japanese surgeon who discovered it in 1912.

Also called Hashimoto’s disease, this autoimmune condition occurs when the immune system makes antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. The reason for this is unclear. The primary treatment is thyroid hormone replacement.

Hashimoto’s disease can affect anyone. However, it is up to 10 times more common in women (most of them being middle-aged), according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Thyroid dysfunction is more common in women than men due to their differences in immune function, similar to many autoimmune diseases, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Hashimoto’s disease tends to run in families (hereditary) and is more likely to develop in those with other autoimmune diseases (i.e., certain liver conditions, B12 deficiency, gluten sensitivity, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes).
Hashimoto’s disease progresses slowly over the years.

Symptoms can include:

• Fatigue
• Increased sensitivity to cold
• Increased sleepiness
• Dry skin
• Constipation
• Muscle weakness
• Joint pain and stiffness
• Problems with memory/concentration