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Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism: The Difference

Posted Sep 11 2010 5:40am


Watching Tom Cruise give a startling performance in "The Last Samurai" and even one of his recent performances as a Senator in "Lions for Lambs" has led me believe that he is still one of the best actors around in commercial cinema.

Despite his controversial beliefs (in Scientology), it was his performance in the first movie that fascinated me, as he reveals his own personal fascination for the Samurai way of life. Perhaps, I found his acting prowess so riveting as I share that fascination myself in Oriental philosophy and how they lead their lives in the pursuit of one goal: to perfect whatever they believe is what they were meant to do.

Another aspect of Oriental culture has always fascinated me, one which has its roots in health and medicine, and even though China has been shown to prominent in their forays into medicine, Japan has contributed no less.

Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism

Hashimoto Hakaru, who worked under Hayari Miyake (the Japanese neurosurgeon), has been instrumental in contributing to the field of medicine in discovering what was known as an "independent illness" in those days, and is commonly known as Hashimoto's hypothyroidism (now known as an autoimmune disease), one of the biggest causes for people to suffer from hypothyroidism these days.

But one might ask: What is an autoimmune disease?

Very simply, it is when the immune system attacks substances, tissue and organs that are normally present in the body. Strangely enough, the immune considers its own cells to be a harmful foreign substance that needs to be eliminated by the release of its antibodies.

In the case of Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, the immune system attacks the thyroid gland (also medically known as "chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis"). It is due to these attacks that an inflammation occurs, and thus this state of inflammation causes hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid gland).

However, there are some differences between Hashimoto's hypothyroidism and regular hypothyroidism, which is what we will look at next.

Differences between Hypothyroidism & Hashimoto's Disease

Difference #1: Hashimoto's disease is am autoimmune disease (as obvious as that statement is!) that is the cause of hypothyroidism that follows as a result of the thyroid gland being damaged while regular hypothyroidism is a condition by itself.

Difference #2: Hashimoto's disease works as a cause (and is one of the most common causes) for hypothyroidism, while regular hypothyroidism is a result of a underactive thyroid or a thyroid that does not function at all.

Difference #3: Hashimoto's disease is a cause for the thyroid gland to either switch between the conditions of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism whereas regular hypothyroidism doesn't switch to either extreme but remains at just one extreme.

Difference #4: While both Hashimoto's disease and regular hypothyroidism can be treated with suitable drugs, the former is a permanent condition and can result in you taking medication that supplies the deficient hormones due to the chronic condition that has been developed.

Difference #5: Hashimoto's disease can lead to other illnesses such as Lupus, diabetes and Grave's disease while hypothyroidism isn't necessarily a condition that lasts for a lifetime.

In Closing

Since this disease can occur to anyone at any age while hypothyroidism occurs to people in their 50s, it is always a good idea to watch out for symptoms that might indicate the presence of this disease. Remember, Hashimoto's disease does not have a cure by but increasing the levels of iodine through medication one can find the way to lead a normal life.

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