The incidence and prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity

Donald S.A. McLeod, David S. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

245 Scopus citations


The thyroid gland is the most common organ affected by autoimmune disease. Other autoimmune diseases, most notably type 1 diabetes mellitus, are increasing in incidence. It is unknown whether autoimmune thyroid diseases are following the same pattern. This review summarizes studies of autoimmune thyroid disease incidence and prevalence since 1950, not only for these measures of occurrences, but also for commenting on identified risk factors for thyroid autoimmunity. We find that incidence of autoimmune thyroid disease is currently higher than in historic series although the studies are so variable in design, patient population, disease definition, and laboratory methods that it is impossible to tell whether this difference is real. Further research is required to assess the possibility of changing disease patterns of autoimmune thyroid disease as opposed to simple changes in diagnostic thresholds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-265
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Autoantibodies
  • Graves disease
  • Hashimoto disease
  • Incidence
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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