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How can you help prevent thyroid trouble?

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Methods for preventing thyroid problems include wearing a thyroid collar during X-ray sessions, quitting smoking, limiting soy consumption, avoiding fluoridated water and treating Celiac disease, notes Mary Shomon for About.com. Others include testing for and treating thyroid antibodies and supplementing selenium into the diet.

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Radiation is a known risk factor for thyroid disease, states Shomon. X-rays of the head, neck or collarbone area can adversely affect the thyroid, which is more susceptible to radiation than other glands. Any type of X-ray procedure of these areas requires a thyroid collar to prevent unnecessary radiation exposure, although not all medical professionals regularly use these devices.

In addition to increasing the risk of thyroid disease, smoking can also create complications in pre-existing cases, explains Shomon. This includes conditions such as Graves' disease, which is also more difficult to treat in smokers. Thiocyanate is one of the many harmful chemicals in cigarettes that contributes to thyroid disorders.

As of 2015, thyroid disease affects approximately 20 million Americans, according to the American Thyroid Association. When cases of thyroid disease remain undiagnosed, of which around 60 percent are, patients become more prone to conditions such as heart disease, infertility and osteoporosis. Women are at least five times more likely to have a thyroid condition than men, and pregnant women with undiagnosed thyroid issues have heightened chances of miscarriage. Increased risks of premature birth and developmental problems affect children of mothers with untreated thyroid issues.

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