What Was Derbyshire Neck?
Derbyshire Neck, also called Goitre, is a swelling of the thyroid gland and is now known to be caused by lack of iodine. It is almost unknown today because iodine is added to drinking water.
Goitre was given the early name of Derbyshire neck because this condition was once known for its high incidence in that part of England.
In the eighteenth century no-one knew for sure what caused it. Some thought it was hereditary in particular families, others that it was caused by living “on the bleak sides of hills.”
They all agreed that women, particularly “child-bearing poor women” were the main victims of “this very unfortunate female disease.”
Caused by an enlargement of the thyroid gland, goitre is a distinctive protuberance of the neck or larynx. Hypothyroidism is caused by an underactive thyroid gland. It creates physical and intellectual delays in its sufferers.
In children this was once called cretinism. Some dogs, cats and horses can also develop this disorder. Hyperthyroidism is caused by an overactive thyroid gland. Its symptoms include muscle weakness, rapid heartbeat, adverse reactions to heat, and weight loss.