We want to make sure that people are aware that if one member of the family has thyroid disease, they need to keep a lookout for symptoms in their siblings and their children.
In a recent population based study, 22 million individuals were followed up – 12 million families – to see if there were any occurrences of Hashimoto’s disease within their family.
They found that 234,912 had Hashimoto’s disease and an affected first degree relative (FDR) (once a family member was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, other family members were considered “exposed” and assigned as “with affected FDR”). From those that were classed as FDR, 2,425 familial cases went on to develop Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (mother, father, twin or sibling). Same-sex twins had three times higher risk of developing Hashimoto’s than opposite-sex twins.
This is a really important study confirming the familial relationship of Hashimoto’s disease.
The study also showed that there was more of a risk of Hashimoto’s in people under 30 years of age.
Unfortunately, in the UK it’s not routine to test for thyroid antibodies unless the TSH is at least outside of the range and in many cases the test is not done until the TSH reaches 10. If more people were tested, we may be able to inform them of ways to help themselves such as going on a gluten free diet, which seems to be very beneficial for those with thyroid antibodies.
Help us to spread awareness of this issue this World Thyroid Day by participating in our social media conversations and by spreading the word to your family, friends and colleagues. We will kick things off by starting the conversation on 25th May. Watch out for us!
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