What increases the risk for thyroid problems?

There are several factors that increase the risk for thyroid disease, including the following:

  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to have thyroid problems.
  • Age: People over the age of 50 are at increased risk for thyroid conditions.
  • Personal history: A history of any autoimmune disease or previous thyroid disease increases the risk for developing thyroid disease.
  • Family history: Family history of thyroid disease increases the risk of developing thyroid disease (slightly higher if it’s a first-degree relative).
  • Cigarette smoking: Cigarette smoking increases the risk of developing autoimmune thyroid disease.
  • Medications: Some medications can increase the risk of developing an underactive thyroid.
  • Radiation exposure to the neck or chest increases the risk of autoimmune thyroid disease and thyroid cancer.
  • Thyroid surgery: Thyroid surgery can result in hypothyroidism.

The risk for thyroid problems can be increased by the following factors:

  • family history of thyroid problems
  • personal history of autoimmune disease, such as type 1 diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
  • exposure to radiation in the neck or upper chest area
  • thyroid surgery
  • being female
  • older age
  • consumption of thyroid supplements that contain thyroid hormone without a prescription or the advice of a doctor 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.