Goiters can affect anyone. They may be present at birth and occur at any time throughout life, although they're more common after age 40. Some common risk factors for goiter include:

  • A lack of dietary iodine. People living in areas where iodine is in short supply and who don't have access to iodine supplements are at high risk of goiter.
  • Being female. Because women are more prone to thyroid disorders, they're also more likely to develop goiters.
  • Your age. Your chances of developing a goiter increase with age.
  • Medical history. A personal or family history of autoimmune disease increases your risk.
  • Pregnancy and menopause. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, thyroid problems are more likely to occur during pregnancy and menopause.
  • Certain medications. Some medical treatments, including immunosuppressants, antiretrovirals, the heart drug amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone, others) and the psychiatric drug lithium (Lithobid, others), increase your risk.
  • Radiation exposure. Your risk increases if you've had radiation treatments to your neck or chest area or you've been exposed to radiation in a nuclear facility, test or accident.
Jan. 02, 2014

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