A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop hyperthyroidism with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing hyperthyroidism. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
Risk factors for hyperthyroidism include:
Medical conditions may increase your risk of hyperthyroidism:
- Certain common viral infections
- Pregnancy—A small percentage of women develop postpartum thyroiditis (hyperthyroidism following pregnancy).
- A history of other autoimmune disorders
Hyperthyroidism can happen at any age, but it is more common in people aged 60 and older. Graves disease (one cause of hyperthyroidism) is more likely to occur between ages 40-60 years old.
Women are more likely than men to develop hyperthyroidism.
A family history of Graves disease or other forms of hyperthyroidism increases your risk.
People of Japanese ancestry appear to be at greater risk of hyperthyroidism. This may be attributed to a diet high in saltwater fish, which are rich sources of iodine.
If you had a diet that was lacking in iodine, then start taking iodine supplements, this can increase your risk of hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism (thyrotoxicosis). Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine-and-metabolic-disorders/thyroid-disorders/hyperthyroidism. Updated July 2016. Accessed November 28, 2017.
Hyperthyroidism and thyrotoxicosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116479/Hyperthyroidism-and-thyrotoxicosis. Updated July 27, 2017. Accessed November 28, 2017.
Primary hyperthyroidism. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/endocrine/primary-hyperparathyroidism/Pages/fact-sheet.aspx. Updated August 2012. Accessed November 28, 2017.
Vaidya B, Pearce SH. Diagnosis and management of thyrotoxicosis. Brit Med J. 2014;349:g5128.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board James Cornell, MD Last Updated: 12/20/2014