What Are the Causes of Hypothyroidism?

Q:
What are the causes of hypothyroidism?

A:
Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones.

Hypothyroidism may be due to a number of factors, including:

  • Autoimmune disease
  • Treatment for hyperthyroidism
  • Thyroid surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Medications

Less often, hypothyroidism may result from one of the following:

  • Congenital disease
  • Pituitary disorder
  • Pregnancy
  • Iodine deficiency

Although anyone can develop hypothyroidism, you’re at an increased risk if you:

  • Are a woman older than age 60
  • Have an autoimmune disease
  • Have a family history of thyroid disease
  • Have other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, a chronic inflammatory condition
  • Have been treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications
  • Received radiation to your neck or upper chest
  • Have had thyroid surgery (partial thyroidectomy)
  • Have been pregnant or delivered a baby within the past six months

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