A simple goitre is when the thyroid is enlarged on its own without the presence of an autoimmune condition. It is relatively rare in first world countries. Symptoms include a swollen thyroid, neck pain, difficulty swallowing and even make breathing difficult as it presses on the windpipe. (Neighbors, M. & Jones, R., 2010, p. 286)
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the cause of 90% of hypothyroid cases in the US! (Root Cause p. 23) It is diagnosed by the presence of antibodies to Thyroglobulin and Thyroid Peroxidase thereby making it an autoimmune disease.
Early stage hypothyroiditis is known as sub-clinical hypothyroidism. It is when the immune system is attacking the thryoid and the remaining undamaged thryoid tissue is trying to compensate and still produce adequate thyroid hormone.
As the disease progresses, more and more of the thyroid is destroyed making it it increasingly difficult to produce adequate thryoid hormone. Eventually the thryoid is completely destroyed resulting in Myxedema.
It is interesting to note that Hashimoto’s is much more prevalent among women than men – in fact, seven times as many women contract the disease as their male counterparts!
It increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and of developing cancer and also increases the likelihood of miscarriage and giving birth to children with intellectual disabilities. (Wentz, I. & Nowosadzka, M., 2013, pp. 26 – 27)
Myxedema “mucous swelling”. Symptoms include “a low metabolic rate; feeling chilled; constipation; thick, dry skin and puffy eyes; edema; lethargy; and mental sluggishness (but not mental retardation).” (Marieb & Hoehn, 2013, p. 609)
Graves Disease is an autoimmune hyperthyroid condition. The antibodies produced by the immune system are able to copy the action of TSH and result in an excess of thyroid hormones being produced. Symptoms include “elevated metabolic rate; sweating; rapid, irregular heartbeat; nervousness; and weight loss despite adequate food. Eyeballs may protrude (exophthalmos) if the tissue behind the eyes becomes edematous” (Marieb & Hoehn, 2013, p. 610)
Cretinism is severe hypothyroidism in children. “The child is mentally retarded and has a short, disproportionately sized body and a thick tongue and neck” but can be easily prevented by administering thyroid hormone. Many countries now mandate testing at birth. (Marieb & Hoehn, 2013, p. 609)
Cindy Kennedy is a Nutritional Medicine Practitioner & Clinical Herbalist who lives and breathes Hashimoto’s on a personal and professional level. Her true passion lies in turning gluten and dairy-free living from a restricted diet into a delicious and abundant family-friendly lifestyle.