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3 Facts About Thyroid Diseases: Facts You Must Want To Know

Dr. Anthony Close
August 3, 2023
Health Hub

Thyroid disease is a general term that refers to the medical conditions which prevent the thyroid gland from producing the normal amount of hormones. It is a prevalent disorder affecting about 20 million people in the United States. Instead of the risk of chronic conditions associated with thyroid diseases, here we will discuss three interesting facts about thyroid diseases, as mentioned below.

  • One out of every twenty people suffers from thyroid disease.
  • Women are at more risk of developing thyroid diseases than men.
  • The risk of thyroid disease increases if you are over 50 or have a family history of thyroid problems.

Why One In Every Twenty People Have Thyroid Disease?

Thyroid diseases are prevalent because of their commonly occurring causes. The reasons or conditions which can lead to thyroid disorders commonly exist among people. Patients who don’t seek medical attention for certain diseases increase the risk factors for thyroid disease. Here we mentioned the conditions associated with thyroid diseases, which can further help you understand the high occurrence ratio of thyroid diseases in a population.

Iodine Deficiency: If you are not taking an adequate amount of iodine in your diet, you are more at risk of developing goiter and hypothyroidism. Iodine is needed by the thyroid glands for the synthesis of hormones. A deficiency of iodine disturbs the thyroid metabolism and can result in thyroid enlargement and other related disorders.

Autoimmune diseases: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Grave’s disease are autoimmune diseases in which immune cells start attacking thyroid healthy cells. Another very common autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes, also increases the risk factor for thyroid disease. When one autoimmune disease already exists, there is a greater likelihood that another autoimmune disease will develop (damaging the thyroid glands).

Regular Intake Of Certain Medications: Some commonly consumed drugs, including antiarrhythmic, bipolar disease, cancer, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-thyroid medications (as given in case of hyperthyroidism), interfere with the normal functioning of the thyroid glands.

Pituitary Gland Disorders: The pituitary glands produce the thyroid stimulating hormone, which triggers the thyroid to release the hormones. Tumor in the pituitary gland result in excessive production of TSH, which further lead to hyperthyroidism.

These are the most common causes of thyroid diseases. Other conditions such as nodules, thyroiditis, excessive iodine intake, and infections can also lead to thyroid malfunctioning.

Why Are Women At More Risk Of Developing Thyroid Diseases Than Men?

According to a study, women are at 5 to 8 times more risk of developing thyroid diseases than men. Women are more likely to suffer from thyroid diseases because of the more fluctuation in the hormonal levels at different stages of life than men. The changes occurring in the female’s body during puberty, menstrual cycle, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause increase her risk of thyroid malfunctioning.

  • During puberty, the changes in the sex hormones adversely impact the thyroid hormones, which can lead to thyroid diseases.
  • During pregnancy, there occurs a decrease in the thyroid-stimulating hormone for some duration (in the first trimester). It happens because of the increased level of βhCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) and estrogen. There is also the chance of the thyroid gland increasing in size by 10 to 15 percent of its original size during pregnancy.
  • Studies have shown that in women going through menopause, existing thyroid disease from the past can flare up again. Intake of birth control pills by females can also be a reason for thyroid diseases.
  • Women are also at risk of thyroid diseases due to hormonal fluctuations caused by stress, insomnia, and anxiety.

Why Are You At More Risk Of Thyroid Disease If You Are Over 50 Or Have a Family History Of Thyroid Disease?

  • Because of the increased risk of autoimmune disease with aging, people over 50 are more likely to develop thyroid diseases. Studies have also shown that the prevalence of autoimmune thyroiditis increases as the person ages.
  • Thyroid diseases are polygenetic. No specific gene has been identified which can be responsible for thyroid diseases, but anyone with a family history of thyroid disease is more likely to experience thyroid malfunction. Further, in about 75% of thyroid disease patients, a family history of thyroid disease has been observed.

Conclusion

Now, you must be aware of how prevalent thyroid diseases are and why women are at greater risk of suffering from thyroid diseases. If any thyroid disorder is left untreated, it can result in severe and chronic health ailments. Therefore, everyone must keep track of thyroid functioning. LabMe ensures your thyroid health by offering various at-home thyroid tests. The thyroid tests offered by LabMe can help you diagnose any existing thyroid dysfunction.

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