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Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism – What You Need to Know

Posted Jan 02 2013 8:41am

So, what comes to mind whenever someone brings up Japan in recent times?

PSY? Gangnam Style?

Oops, sorry. He's from South Korea. You know – the country that's next to North Korea that has nuclear capability and wouldn't mind using them. Yes, just like there is no language such as "Indian".

Being American nowadays is usually equated to being dumb especially when it comes to knowledge of the outside world apart from what goes on in the continent of North America.

But then again – it's like saying that all black men have big penises or all Asians are intelligent. But yes, there are some folks that will dumb down "dumb" and make the news too, if for all the wrong reasons.

As for the rest of you who are endowed with much more than common sense, here's what probably comes to mind when one brings up Japan.

Sushi, perhaps. Or even being one of the Axis powers during World War II. Maybe even the legend surrounding samurai warriors, ninjas and also that incredibly hilarious accents that they speak English with.

However, in terms of health, here's something that most, if not all of us, would not know about the Japanese and their contribution to medicine: Hakaru Hashimoto's discovery, in particular.

Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism – An Introduction

Hakaru Hashimoto , in working with the acclaimed Japanese neurosurgeon, Hayari Miyake, is known for his contribution to the field of medicine by discovering Hashimoto's hypothyroidism – one of the most common causes of this disorder.

It must also be said that Hashimoto's hypothyroidism is different from the condition of hypothyroidism and the distinction lies in the fact that the former is an auto-immune disease.

Of course, in order to explain the gravity of this discovery, Hashimoto revealed his findings on the subject of hypothyroidism at a time when the field of medicine had not yet comprehended how the immune system works let alone fully understanding and acknowledging its existence.

Put simply, he was way ahead of his time, and since there was no appropriate classification of this type of disease during his time, it was considered to be an 'independent illness'.

Now, for one to understand what Hashimoto's hypothyroidism is, it's important to understand what an autoimmune disease is in the first place.

By definition, the immune system mistakenly recognizes the body's own cells and tissue to be harmful pathogens and attacks them in the process which can only be treated by immunosuppression.

So, when it comes to Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, the immune cells attack the thyroid gland causing inflammation, and which in turn, results in hypothyroidism.

Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism & Hypothyroidism – A Few Differences

As mentioned earlier, both Hashimoto's discovery and hypothyroidism are not the same. So, here are a few differences between the two:

#1: Regular hypothyroidism occurs due to a disruption to the production and release of hormones that are required for the all-important process of metabolism as a result of not being able to collect enough iodine. Hashimoto's hypothyroidism is actually a cause where the damage caused by the immune system to the thyroid gland causes hypothyroidism as a result.

#2: Hashimoto's hypothyroidism can switch between hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism whereas regular hypothyroidism doesn't.

#3: While Hashimoto's hypothyroidism can lead to other conditions such as Grave's disease, Lupus among others, this isn't necessarily the case with regular hypothyroidism.

#4: Not all patients suffering from hypothyroidism will have to deal with a permanent condition for the rest of their lives but this isn't the case with Hashimoto's hypothyroidism.

In Closing

Do you have any personal experiences with Hashimoto's disease ? If so, feel free to share your experiences.

Also, read this article if you want to know more about regular hypothyroidism and the symptoms of underactive thyroid .

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