In the United States studies have shown the prevalence of hypothyroidism to be anywhere from 3-10%. Internationally the prevalence has been reported as 2-5%, increasing to 15% by age 75 years. Cretinism refers to congenital hypothyroidism, which has been estimated to affect one per 4000 newborns.
However, the numbers could be higher due to many cases that go undetected. Even when lab tests are in the “normal range” one must remember normal for one person may be inadequate for someone else. In my practice I look at each patient as an individual and optimize their thyroid function based on symptoms, clinical exam and lab findings.
Hypothyroidism is one of the most under diagnosed hormonal imbalances of aging. It is more common in women than men and the incidence increases with age. Other risk factors include having a family history of thyroid problems, a history of chronic fatigue syndrome, female gender, age greater than 50 yrs, exposure to radiation, chemical exposure (flouride, perchlorate), obesity or a history of thyroid surgery. Click here to read the entire article