Know the risk factors
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune condition, where the immune system – which normally helps fight infection and disease – instead produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland. Why a person develops Hashimoto’s disease is still a mystery, but there are a number of factors that can contribute to your risk. “If you are female, have a family history of Hashimoto’s disease or have had another autoimmune disease, you are at a higher risk for developing the disease,” says Dr Stephanie Lee, a specialist of endocrinology, nutrition, and diabetes at Boston Medical Center.
The condition is eight times more common in women than men, and is most often diagnosed between the ages of 40 to 60 (although teens and young women can get it too), according to the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease.
Here are the symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease.
Your neck is swelling
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that’s in your neck, just south of your Adam’s apple. It produces hormones that help regulate your brain, heart, metabolism, muscles and organs. If you have Hashimoto’s disease, you can develop a goiter, which is an enlarged thyroid gland. However, goiters can be caused by other things too. The most common cause of goiter around the world is an iodine deficiency. However, a goiter can also indicate that you have an autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s disease, which is also known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Your hair is thinning
The Mayo Clinic notes that women are much more likely to develop Hashimoto’s disease, most commonly during middle age. Though losing hair volume can be a natural part of ageing, thinning hair is also a symptom of the condition. Consult with your doctor if you notice abnormal hair loss or major changes in hair thickness, especially if you also have other symptoms.