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How common is toxic goiter?

Dr. Jack Merendino, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Toxic goiter, which includes both Graves’ disease (a non-nodular or “diffuse” toxic goiter) and overactive thyroid nodules, is quite common in medical terms, though this still means only 1 to 2% of the population lifetime incidence in most studies. In contrast, non-toxic thyroid nodules, meaning nodules that do not cause over-production of thyroid hormone, have been found in 10% or more of individuals by ultrasound in the United States. The incidence is even higher in areas of the world where there is widespread iodine deficiency such as Southeast Asia, Latin America and Central Africa. 
Toxic goiter is much more common in women than in men. It is most common in people past middle age. Goiters used to be more common in inland areas because more iodine is present in foods produced close to the ocean, but this is not an issue in countries where iodized salt is used such as the United States.

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