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Thyroid

20 January 2019

5 factors that put you at risk for hypothyroidism

You might want to talk to your doctor about testing your thyroid levels.

Certain factors can up your chances for hypothyroidism. If you experience symptoms (tired, grumpy, overweight) and any of the below hypothyroidism risk factors apply, talk to your doc about testing your thyroid levels…

1. A family history

Having a first-degree female relative (mother, sister, daughter) with a thyroid disorder increases your risk of developing one.

Read more: 11 thyroid symptoms in women that could point to a serious problem

2. Hashimoto’s disease

Hypothyroidism is frequently triggered by this autoimmune disorder, which causes the body to produce antibodies to attack the thyroid. “Over the course of several years, the entire thyroid can be destroyed,” explains endocrinologist Dr Antonio Bianco. But, testing positive for the antibodies doesn’t guarantee you’ll develop a thyroid disorder.

“Over 20 years, only around a third of patients’ conditions progress to the point that they need to take synthetic thyroid hormones,” says endocrinologist Dr Martin Surks.

Read more: So, what exactly is hashimoto’s disease

3. Other autoimmune diseases

Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and coeliac disease slightly raise your odds for Hashimoto’s and therefore hypothyroidism. Why? Having one autoimmune disorder increases your risk of developing another one.

4. Radiation

The radiation used to treat Hodgkin’s disease, lymphoma or head and neck cancers can destroy the thyroid. Diagnostic X-rays aren’t thought to carry this risk, but some experts suggest that the thyroid be shielded during dental X-rays.

Read more: The best way to lose weight when you have hypothyroidism

5. Bipolar disorder

Researchers are still studying this link, but anti-thyroid antibodies are found more often in individuals with bipolar disorder. One theory: Lithium, a medication used to treat the mental-health issue, may interfere with thyroid hormone production, says endocrinologist Dr Jacqueline Jonklaas.

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthsa.co.za

Image credit: iStock