Causes of Thyroid Disorders

Causes of Thyroid Disorders

Your thyroid is a tiny workhorse of a gland shaped like a butterfly. Its job is to make and release the hormones that control many of the functions your body needs to thrive. In fact, you have your thyroid to thank for how quickly you burn calories and how rapidly your heart beats as well as how restless or tired you may feel — and much, much more.

Since your body relies so heavily on your thyroid, numerous problems can arise when it doesn’t function properly. That’s because thyroid disorders cause your body to have too much or too little of the hormones it needs to perform.

Dr. Rohit Dwivedi at Sonoran Endocrinology specializes in hormonal disorders, including those involving the thyroid. He shares these insights into what causes thyroid dysfunction.

Thyroid disorder basics

First, it’s important to note that the general terms “thyroid disorder” and “thyroid disease” describe several conditions affecting the thyroid. 

An estimated 20 million Americans have some type of thyroid disorder, such as:

Anyone can develop a thyroid disorder. However, women are 5-8 times more likely to have a thyroid condition, and approximately 1 in 8 will have a thyroid problem at some point in their lifetime — especially following pregnancy or menopause.

The cause of thyroid disorders

Several things can lead to thyroid problems:

Autoimmune diseases

Graves’ disease is the leading cause of hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid. This condition develops when your immune system misfires and starts attacking your thyroid, causing it to make too many hormones. 

Similarly, another autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid — Hashimoto’s disease — usually causes hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid.

Other health conditions

Unfortunately, you also have a higher risk of having a thyroid disorder if you live with Type 1 diabetes, another autoimmune disorder. That’s because if you have one autoimmune disease, you’re more likely to have another.

Other conditions that increase your chances of thyroid disorders include anemia, celiac disease, goiters, and pregnancy.


You can also develop thyroid disease from too much or too little iodine in your diet. Iodine deficiency is less common in the United States because it’s added to table salt. However, you can also have too much iodine in your system if you have a diet high in salt, fish, and seaweed.

There’s also excessive iodine in certain medications and even cough syrup.

Thyroid inflammation

If the thyroid gland becomes inflamed, it can also trigger the release of too many hormones. 

Thyroid inflammation can occur for several reasons, ranging from bacterial or viral infection to autoimmune diseases and genetics. Smoking can also cause thyroid inflammation, impacting hormone production and interfering with iodine.


There are different kinds of thyroid growths, including nodules and cancer. While most growths are not cancerous, any changes in the thyroid gland can trigger changes in hormone function.

Treating thyroid disorders

Fortunately, Dr. Dwivedi can get to the bottom of your thyroid dysfunction and outline the best strategy to restore ideal hormone levels in your system. Depending on your condition, your treatment could involve medication, radioactive iodine treatments, or removing some or all of your thyroid.

If you need thyroid surgery, you will likely require oral hormone therapy for the rest of your life.

To learn more about thyroid disorders and what’s causing your symptoms, contact one of our Sonoran Endocrinology offices in Surprise, Gilbert, Lake Havasu City, or Prescott, Arizona. We’ll get you scheduled for an appointment with Dr. Dwivedi.

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