Risk Factors of Hypothyroidism

Could you be at risk of becoming hypothyroid?

Written by Eren Berber MD
Reviewed by Robert M. Sargis MD, PhD

If you're concerned about your risk of developing hypothyroidism, there are two main factors to consider—age and sex. Your chances of being hypothyroid increase with age, and they are greater if you're a woman.

Hypothyroidism occurs primarily in women older than 50.

Hypothyroidism is when your body doesn't produce enough thyroid hormone. Since the main purpose of thyroid hormone is to run the body's metabolism, people with hypothyroidism will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism.

Besides age and sex, your risk for hypothyroidism is increased if:

Why it is important to know about your potential risks
Understanding your risk factors is important because it will help your doctor determine your need to be screened for hypothyroidism. Regular screenings are your best ally in diagnosing hypothyroidism early on. But even if you have multiple risk factors, it does not guarantee that you will develop hypothyroidism. Conversely, not having any risk factors won't protect you from the disorder.

If left untreated, hypothyroidism can progress and cause a multitude of complications. Understanding the symptoms of hypothyroidism and getting regular screenings to ensure an early diagnosis will help prevent the onset of the complications.

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