by Charles Lightwalker
Thyroiditis Disease, also known as Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease in which the thyroid gland is gradually destroyed. The thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of the body's functions. Hashimoto's disease is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in America. It primarily affects middle-aged women but also can occur in men, women and children of any age.
The exact cause of Thyroiditis is not known, but many factors are believed to play a role. They include: autoimmune disease such as, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, lupus, genetics, hormones, and excessive iodine exposure. Those who get Thyroiditis disease or other autoimmune diseases, often have family members who have Hashimoto's disease. This suggests a genetic component. Thyroiditis affects about seven times as many women as men, suggesting that sex hormones may play a role. Furthermore, some women have thyroid problems usually during the 9 months of pregnancy gestation. Although the problem usually goes away, as many as 20% of these women develop Thyroiditis disease years later. Research suggests certain drugs and too much iodine, a trace element required by the body to make thyroid hormones, may trigger thyroid disease in susceptible people. Increased cases of thyroid disease have been reported in people exposed to radiation, such as the atomic bombs in Japan, the Chernobyl nuclear accident, radiation treatment for a form of blood cancer called Hodgkin's disease or exposed to excessive levels of environmental radiation. Some cases may be due to over exposure to radiation during diagnostic exams.
Thyroiditis disease also may be associated with an increased risk of heart disease, primarily because high levels of low density lipoprotein, the bad cholesterol. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to an enlarged heart and, possibly, heart failure. Depression may occur early in Thyroiditis disease and may become more severe over time. It can also cause libido to decrease in both men and women and can lead to slowed mental functioning. Sometimes a life-threatening condition can develop with long term hypothyroidism as a result of untreated Thyroiditis disease. Its signs and symptoms include drowsiness followed by profound lethargy and unconsciousness. A myxedema coma may be triggered by exposure to cold, sedatives, infection or other stress on the body. This requires immediate emergency treatment.
Babies born to women with untreated hypothyroidism due to Thyroiditis disease may have a higher risk of birth defects than do babies born to healthy mothers. These children are more prone to intellectual and developmental problems. There may be a link between hypothyroid pregnancies and birth defects, such as cleft palate. A connection also exists between hypothyroid pregnancies and heart, brain and kidney problems in infants.
Thyroiditis symptoms may be mild in the beginning but it typically progresses slowly over the years causing chronic thyroid damage, leading to a drop in thyroid hormone levels in the blood. The first sign of the disease is often an enlarged thyroid, called goiter. The goiter often causes the front of the neck to look swollen and may also interfere with swallowing or breathing. Other symptoms of an under acting thyroid due to Thyroiditis disease may include: fatigue and sluggishness, sleep disorders, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, pale dry skin, a puffy pale face, brittle nails, hair loss, thin and brittle hair, enlargement of the tongue, unexplained weight gain, muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness, joint pain, muscle weakness, irregular, heavy or prolonged menstrual periods, depression, memory lapses, infertility, slowed heart rate and more.
As a holistic health provider, I know that dis-ease relates to nutrition balance, emotional & physical stress, overwork, insufficient rest, disharmony of the liver, spleen, and stomach. Early diagnosis is important, in which case Thyroiditis may be helped by acupuncture, acupressure, Reiki and other types of complementary medicine in conjunction with western medicine. It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, walking, dancing, swimming, breathing exercises, and doing stretching, yoga and or tai chi daily. Also eating a balanced organic diet (eat dinner early and never skip breakfast). Avoid smoking, alcohol even though they might ease the symptoms, they will damage the organs further. Meditation helps calm the mind. Soak the feet in warm water before bedtime to improve sleep. Have an acupressure, acupuncture, Reiki, or tuning fork tune up monthly to improve energy, organ harmony and remove daily stress.
Charles Lightwalker, is an ordained minister, chaplain,
certified spiritual healer, shamanic practitioner, father and husband.