Thyroid Disorders Center

Thyroid Causes and Risk Factors

What causes thyroid disease?
There are several different causes of thyroid disease. Some health conditions can trigger reactions which cause the thyroid to be overactive, or underactive. Intake of iodine is especially believed to be the key to activation or the slowing down of the thyroid. Excessive intake of iodine leads to hyper-action while a lack can result in a hypo-syndrome.

Hypothyroidism causes

  • Birth defect (a non-functioning thyroid gland)
  • Hashimoto's thyroiditis
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Postpartum thyroiditis
  • Thyroiditis

Hyperthyroidism causes

  • Excessive iodine intake
  • Graves' disease
  • Overactive nodules within the thyroid (toxic autonomously functioning thyroid nodule or toxic multi-nodular goiter)
  • Thyroiditis

Risk factors
There are certain risk factors that make it more likely that a person develops thyroid disorders. Risk factors may not be a direct cause of a particular disease, but seem to be associated with its development in some way. Primary risk factors for thyroid disease include gender, age and family history. However, many things are unclear about the development of thyroid disorders, which is why an emphasis is placed on regular neck checks for all women and senior citizens.

Age - Some changes in thyroid tissue may occur as a normal part of aging. However, the likelihood of thyroid problems increases the older you get.

Certain thyroid conditions. Nodules are more likely to form in people who have or have had thyroiditis - a chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland.

Family history - Thyroid disorders have a tendency to be hereditary. If a parent or sibling has been diagnosed with thyroid nodules, you have a greater chance of developing them as well.

Gender - Women are statistically five to eight times more likely than men to experience thyroid problems.

Radiation exposure - Although anyone can get thyroid cancer, people who as children had head or neck x-ray treatments for tonsillitis or other conditions (during the 1920s to the 1960s) are more prone to develop thyroid nodules or thyroid cancer. You're also at increased risk if you were exposed to radioactive particles released into the air during atomic weapons testing or in nuclear power plant accidents.

To better understand the symptoms of thyroid disorders, continue reading here.  For those who think that they may be experiencing the condition, the next section on thyroid disorder symptoms outlines thyroid disease symptoms here.

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