By Melanie Haiken
September 09, 2001

Some experts say a woman over 35 has a 30 percent chance of developing a thyroid disorder. One simple explanation is that todays more sensitive and sophisticated tests catch the ailment sooner, leading to more diagnoses. But even if thats true many experts think hypothyroidism is under-diagnosed, and researchers dont know why. Possible explanations include:

Its everywhere these days. Many thyroidologists recommend that patients try yoga, meditation, and other stress-reducers. Some experts believe that finding healthy ways to cope with stress might help prevent immune-system attacks like Hashimotos thyroiditis, the most frequent cause of hypothyroidism, or at least slow its onset.

Environmental toxins
Chemicals that disrupt the bodys endocrine system may be throwing peoples hormones out of whack. An American Thyroid Association investigative meeting in the spring tackled the topic of environmental effects on the thyroid.

Nutritional deficiencies and/or imbalances
Too much or too little iodine, selenium deficiency from soil, fluoride in water, and too much soy in todays diet may be culprits.