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How common are thyroid conditions in Canada?

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By Suhani Saigal

Prevalence of Thyroid Diseases in Canada: An Analysis 

 

Some of the most common hormonal diseases that exist in our society today are thyroid diseases— the most prevalent ones being hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid nodules

According to the Thyroid Foundation of Canada, approximately 200 million people across the globe are affected by some type of thyroid disease. 

Studies have estimated that 1 in 10 Canadians suffer from a thyroid disorder and about 50% of the affected population in Canada is undiagnosed. As per a report published by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, 10% of the Canadian population that is above the age of 45, is affected by thyroid disorders, and adults older than 85 years, are at a greater risk. Furthermore, prevalence is higher in women than in men in Canada.

 

The Canadian Cancer Society believes that an approximate total of 8,600 Canadians will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2020, out of which 230 cases will be fatal. Canadian women have a higher risk of contracting the disease – it is estimated that 6,400 women will have a thyroid cancer diagnosis. Most thyroid cancer patients undergo surgery and the most common type of surgery is Total Thyroidectomy or the complete removal of the thyroid. 

An individual is diagnosed with hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid function when their thyroid gland is unable to produce sufficient amounts of T4 and T3 hormones. The prevalence of hypothyroidism increases with age and typically affects 2 in 100 Canadians.  According to the Alberta College of Family Physicians, as of 2019, hypothyroidism medication is the seventh-most prescribed in Alberta, Canada. 

On the other hand, when an individual’s thyroid gland secretes hormones in excessive amounts, the individual is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. In Canada, Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder, is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism and affects 1 in 100 Canadians

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