Hashimoto's thyroiditis - when the body attacks the thyroid gland

The Japanese doctor Hakaru Hashimoto published in 1912 his discovery that he had made in the thyroid of four women: The tissue was interspersed with white blood cells - cells that do not belong there - it showed a conversion of glandular into connective tissue and a shrinkage. For the first time Hashimoto described the most common form of thyroiditis.

Causes: How does this disease develop?

Hashimoto described in his publication exactly the characteristics that are typical of this type of thyroid disease. The white blood cells are lymphocytes, which always occur where the immune system of the body is active. Sometimes the body also classifies its own tissue as foreign and sends its defenses (autoantibodies) into the fight.

This - in this case, in the thyroid - an inflammation set in motion (thyroiditis), which destroys the cells and thus their function. The individual glands are replaced by fiber-rich tissue, causing the thyroid gland to shrink. The longer the disease lasts, the less functioning cells are left over and there is a hypofunction. Often only their symptoms lead the doctor on the right track. There are also forms in which the thyroid increases in size; However, it also comes to a loss of function.

Who is affected?

Why you still do not know exactly - but it affects up to 10 times more women than men, and mostly in middle age. Not infrequently, there are other syndromes in which the body draws against its own tissue in the field (eg, bronzed disease, diabetes, celiac disease). These are also referred to as autoimmune diseases.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis is more common in the family; In recent years, it has been discovered that certain genes are found particularly frequently in patients.

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