Hypothyroidism, when your thyroid gland is underactive, develops when your thyroid doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone to support various metabolic functions throughout the body. Still, the disease isn’t always so clear-cut, as there are at least 10 well-studied Hypothyroidism Causes.

While hypothyroidism causes is common (especially in women older than 60), diagnoses are unfortunately not as easy to come by. In fact, researchers estimate that up to 60 percent of people have thyroid disease and don’t even know it. This includes hypothyroidism, which is more prevalent than any other type of thyroid disease. When hypothyroidism is left untreated, you’re at risk for long-term health complications, such as heart disease. If you suspect you have hypothyroidism, keep the following hypothyroidism causes in mind, as some may double as risk factors.

1. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism)

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, also called Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, is the most common hypothyroidism causes. It’s an autoimmune disease, a class of disorders in which your body attacks its own healthy tissues. People who have Hashimoto’s have antibodies that attack their own thyroid gland tissues. When your thyroid gland no longer has healthy tissues, it can weaken and fail to produce hormones as it should. The exact hypothyroidism causes of autoimmune diseases isn’t known, but genetics are thought to contribute. Hashimoto’s tends to run in families, so you may be at risk if a close relative has the condition.Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is most common in middle-aged women. This condition can happen to anyone, even those in optimal health.

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