A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.

It is possible to develop hyperthyroidism with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing hyperthyroidism. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your healthcare provider what you can do to reduce your risk.

Risk factors for hyperthyroidism include:

Medical Conditions

There are two medical conditions that may increase your risk of hyperthyroidism:

  • Certain viral infections
  • Pregnancy—Five to eight percent of women develop postpartum thyroiditis (hyperthyroidism followed by hypothyroidism).

Age

Risk is greatest between the ages of 30 and 40 years. Hyperthyrodism rarely occurs before age 10.

Gender

Women are more likely than men to develop hyperthyroidism by a ratio of 7:1.

Genetic Factors

A family history of Graves’ disease or other forms of hyperthyroidism increases your risk.

Ethnic Background

People of Japanese ancestry appear to be at greater risk of hyperthyroidism. This may be attributed to a diet high in saltwater fish, which are rich sources of iodine.

Other

Supplementating iodine to a previously iodine-deficient diet may precipitate hyperthyroidism.