Hypothyroidism Risk Factors
Certain risk factors can increase a person's chances of developing hypothyroidism. These include female gender, older age, a family history of conditions that affect the immune system, and recent radiation to the neck or chest area, among other things. While having risk factors does not mean a person will necessarily develop an underactive thyroid, the healthcare provider may recommend regular testing to detect problems early.
What Are Risk Factors for Hypothyroidism?Hypothyroidism is when a person's thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormones to meet the body's needs. It can be caused by a number of different conditions, surgery, or medications (see Hypothyroidism Causes).
Some factors can increase a person's chances of developing hypothyroidism. These are known as hypothyroidism risk factors.
Specific risk factors for an underactive thyroid include:
- Female gender (women are five to eight times more likely to develop hypothyroidism than men)
- Age (hypothyroidism is more common in people over the age of 60)
- Women with a small body size at birth and during childhood
- A previous history of a thyroid problem, such as a goiter or thyroid surgery
- A family history of thyroid disease
- Having been pregnant or delivered a baby within the past six months
- A history of other autoimmune diseases, including Sjögren's syndrome, pernicious anemia, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus
- A history of Turner syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects females
- A history of radiation to the thyroid or to the neck or chest.