Thyroid diseases are common in the community. It is essential to understand that many of these do not have symptoms, and some may not have significant health consequences. The prevalence of thyroid diseases may differ according to the ethnicity of the people where this was studied, the iodine intake of this population and their age. Around 10 % of people have mild or subclinical hypothyroidism, and about 4% have overt or symptomatic hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is less common. About 1.6% of people have subclinical or mild hyperthyroidism, and 1.3 % have overt hyperthyroidism. If you look at the presence of Anti TPO antibodies, around 17% of people may have these. Many of these people may not have any thyroid dysfunction.
Around one in 100,000 men and around 1.8 in 100,000 women are newly diagnosed with thyroid cancer annually. The risk of thyroid nodules increases with age and is more seen in women and those with iodine deficiency or after radiation exposure. Depending on how you try to detect the nodules, around 20 to 40 % have thyroid nodules on ultrasound and about 5 % percentage when you feel it clinically. If you take women in pregnancy, about 2.5% of women may have hypothyroidism and around one to 4 out of 1000 women may have hyperthyroidism. Hence, thyroid diseases are widespread in the community, but not everyone requires treatment. If you are detected to have thyroid disease, you should meet an endocrinologist to sort it out.