Hashimoto’s disease, also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disorder in which a person’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland. This disease is named for Hakaru Hashimoto, the Japanese physician who discovered it. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism, or decreased activity of the thyroid gland, in the United States. Read on to learn more about this autoimmune disease.
11. What Is Hashimoto’s Disease?
Autoimmune disorders are diseases in which a body’s immune system goes awry and begins attacking healthy body organs or tissues as if they were foreign substances. In Hashimoto’s disease, the affected organ is the thyroid. The thyroid gland is a small gland located just below your Adam’s apple. This gland produces and releases thyroid hormones into your bloodstream. Thyroid hormones regulate body functions such as metabolism, heart function, muscle control, brain development, and mood. When the thyroid is attacked by your immune system, it is no longer able to produce the hormones needed for these necessary functions.
10. Thyroid Hormones
There are two hormones produced by your thyroid gland. They are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Your thyroid gland takes in iodine and combines it with an amino acid called tyrosine in order to produce these hormones. These hormones are then released into the bloodstream. T4 is a prohormone which is converted into the active hormone T3 in your liver, gut, and skeletal muscles. Your thyroid gland also produces the hormone calcitonin, which plays a part in lowering calcium levels in the blood.