Hashimoto’s Disease vs. Graves Disease
Anatomy and Physiology II
September 18, 2013
Dr. P. Wong
Hashimoto's disease can also be called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis or autoimmune thyroiditis. An autoimmune disease happens when the body's immune system attacks it's own cells and organs instead of its normal job of protecting the body from infection. Hashimoto's disease specifically attacks the thyroid gland, causing inflammation interfering with the ability to produce thyroid hormones. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hashimotos-disease/basics/definition/con-20030293) A large number of white blood cells also accumulate in the thyroid. These white blood cells are called lymphocytes and they are responsible for making the antibodies that start this autoimmune process. Hashimoto's disease tends to lead to reduced thyroid function, known as hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a disorder that happens when the thyroid can't make enough thyroid hormone for the body's needs. Thyroid hormones control the way your body uses energy, better know as the metabolism, and affects nearly every organ in the body. When the body can't produce enough of this hormone, many of the body's functions slow down.
The exact cause of Hashimoto's is not known, but many factors are believed to play a role. People who get Hashimoto's often have family members who have thyroid disease or other autoimmune diseases. This suggests a genetic component to the disease. (http://www.webmd.com/women/hashimotos-thyroiditis-symptoms-causes-treatments) Hashimoto's affects about seven times as many women as men, suggesting that sex hormones may play a role. Furthermore, some women have thyroid problems during the first year after having a baby. Although the problem usually goes away, as many as 20% of these women develop Hashimoto's years later....
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