The thyroid is a small gland in the front of your neck that produces hormones affecting your metabolism. When it malfunctions, it can suffer thyroiditis, which exists in several different forms. One type of thyroiditis is Hashimoto's disease, a common ailment which, though debilitating, can be regulated with daily medication.
Hashimoto's disease is a disease of the thyroid gland named after the doctor who discovered it, Hakaru Hashimoto, in Japan in 1912. It is also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis or autoimmune thyroiditis, and it is the most common type of thyroiditis.
The thyroid converts iodine from food into thyroid hormone. With Hashimoto's disease, thyroid cells are not able to process that conversion. The pituitary gland, which spurs the thyroid into action, works overtime trying to overcompensate.
A blood marker is used to identify Hashimoto's patients, through a simple test an endocrinologist or a general physician can perform. Thyroid antibodies are represented in 95 percent of Hashimoto's patients. The thyroid gland in these people also may become enlarged and palpable (some patients have a goiter).
Hashimoto's disease is treatable with daily thyroid hormone replacement. As patients begin the course of pills, their thyroid gland shrinks in size (if enlarged), and their body resumes its processing of iodine. Both synthetic and natural thyroid hormone replacement therapies are available.
The following celebrities, politicians and sports figures all have experienced success in life, in spite of struggling with thyroid disease: Rod Stewart, George H. W. Bush, Carl Lewis, Roger Ebert, Joe Piscopo and John Adams.