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Women's Health

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Hypothyroidism - Prevention

Most cases of hypothyroidism in the United States are caused by Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which cannot be prevented.

Although you can't prevent hypothyroidism, you can watch for signs of the disease so it can be treated promptly. Some people who are at high risk for having hypothyroidism but do not have symptoms can be tested to see whether they have mild, or subclinical, hypothyroidism.

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Expert groups differ in their recommendations for screening. For example:

  • The American Thyroid Association recommends that all adults be tested beginning at age 35 and continuing every 5 years.3 Older adults, especially women older than 60, those with a family history of hypothyroidism, and those who have Addison's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia, or type 1 diabetes should also be tested, according to these recommendations.
  • The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force makes no recommendation for or against thyroid screening for people who do not have symptoms of hypothyroidism. The USPSTF states there is not enough evidence to support screening.4
  • Another panel of experts from several medical specialties recommends against widespread screening.6 But these health professionals say that if you are high risk, you may want to be screened. Those at high risk include women older than age 60 and people who have type 1 diabetes or other autoimmune diseases.6 Talk to your doctor about whether you should be screened.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 14, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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