Informing & Supporting Thyroid Patients Since 1985

Staying Well You and Your Family

Thyroid Risk

Do you have a thyroid risk?

You are at increased risk for a thyroid problem if you or a close relative have:

  • hyperthyroidism including Graves’ Disease
  • hypothyroidism including Hashimoto’s chronic thyroiditis
  • an enlarged thyroid (goiter)
  • any autoimmune disease including Type I (Juvenile) Diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, pernicious anemia due to a lack of vitamin B12, or the white skin spots of vitiligo
  • certain traits and other conditions associated with a thyroid risk including prematurely gray hair (one gray hair before thirty), bipolar disease, and mitral valve prolapse

What tests should be done?

Related Articles

Your doctor will probably order two tests. The first tests for Anti-Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (Anti-TPO Antibody). A positive test indicates that you have inherited the risk for thyroid disease and need to have your thyroid hormone blood levels checked at least once a year and during and after pregnancy. The second test measures your thyroid stimulating hormone level (TSH) and tells whether you need thyroid treatment now. A high TSH level indicates hypothyroidism while a low TSH level indicates an overactive thyroid.

Your doctor may add other tests to evaluate an enlarged or nodular thyroid and may recommend similar testing for other family members on the side of your family in which relatives share indicators of thyroid dysfunction described above.

Above all remember that your doctor is in the best position to know whether you need thyroid tests, but it’s important for you to share with your doctor this information about your family which could suggest that you need thyroid tests now.

Did You Know?
Your thyroid gland tells every cell in your body the rate at which it should function.
read more