A risk factor is something that increases your chances of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop hypothyroidism with or without the risk factors listed below. Your chances of developing hypothyroidism increase depending on the number of risk factors you have. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
There are several medical conditions known to increase your risk of hypothyroidism. These include:
Pregnancy—Less than 10% of women develop postpartum thyroiditis. This condition is best described as hyperthyroidism that is followed by hypothyroidism. These women usually get better without treatment. Treatment is sometimes needed if this happens again. This condition can also happen with other causes of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Having received radiation to the thyroid tissue or the neck or chest
Having had thyroid surgery in the past
Pituitary gland disorders
Your risk of hypothyroidism increases with age, especially after age 65 years.
Women are more likely to develop the condition than men.
If any of your family members have hypothyroidism, you are at greater risk.
Hypothyroidism occurs more often in Caucasians than in African Americans.
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hypothyroidism. Updated August 2016. Accessed February 20, 2017.
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This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
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