Is an Underactive Thyroid Hereditary
There is a genetic component to a diagnosis of underactive thyroid, but the condition itself isn’t solely hereditary. Depending on the circumstances surrounding an individual patient’s diagnosis, their underactive thyroid could be considered genetic. This article will examine these circumstances more closely.
Determining the Root Cause
Underactive thyroid can be triggered by medicinal or biological circumstances that have nothing to do with genetics. Things like:
- Hormonal changes in the body
- Medication reactions
- Idiopathic responses
These catalysts can trigger changes in the thyroid gland that cause it to become overactive or underactive.
However, there are also genetic markers that cause alterations in your thyroid function. These include:
- Thyroid cancer
- Depressive conditions
- Autoimmune disorders
The differences illustrated by the diagnostic factors show why it is important to have a good understanding of your medical history prior to a diagnosis of underactive thyroid.
A Familial Connection
Your family history says a lot about you.
For example, Hashimoto Thyroiditis is the most common genetic cause of underactive thyroid in the United States. It affects an estimated 10 million people and 10% of women over 30 have the same form of this disease.
This autoimmune disorder causes the body to attack healthy cells within the thyroid gland, eventually causing it to interrupt its healthy function and become underactive. This form of thyroiditis isn’t the only hereditary threat out there. Thyroid cancer is another unfortunate genetic possibility.
At least one cause of thyroid cancer has been pinpointed as genetic. The RET gene abnormality found in certain patients almost always leads to thyroid cancer later in life. This abnormal gene is passed down directly from parent to child. Patients with a family history of goiters and precancerous colon polyps are also more likely to develop a form of thyroid cancer.
Of course, genetic conditions that initially have nothing to do with your thyroid function can still result in an underactive gland.
For instance, patients who have a family history of tissue inflammation can develop an underactive thyroid as a secondary side effect of the condition. Also, patients with a history of bipolar disorder need to be careful about the side effects of their medications.
Thyroid problems have been linked to the long-term effects of being on certain drug therapies for depression. It is very important that you understand what your hereditary susceptibilities are, so you can disclose them to your specialist.
Many times those susceptibilities offer a roadmap that your doctor would not otherwise have. That roadmap not only makes finding a diagnosis easier, it can save your life.
Ask questions about your family medical history and share the answers with your doctor; especially if you think you might be at risk for developing thyroid conditions.