In the developing world, iodine deficiency is a major cause of hypothyroidism. While less common in the developed world, mild to moderate iodine deficiency is common in some southern and western European countries. Global efforts to universally iodise salt have diminished the magnitude of this problem; however, iodine intake is still low in many countries and in high-risk individuals, such as pregnant women. The prevalence of overt hypothyroidism in the general population ranges between 0.2% and 5.3% in Europe. The incidence of primary hypothyroidism in the UK is estimated to be 0.41% per year for women and 0.06% per year in men. The prevalence of overt primary hypothyroidism in the US is 0.3%, and of sub-clinical hypothyroidism is 4.3%. The prevalence of overt and sub-clinical hypothyroidism is higher in white people (5.1%) than in black people (1.7%), or Hispanic people (4.2%). The prevalence is higher in women and increases with age. It ranges from 4% in women aged 18-24 years, to 21% in women older than 74 years, and 3% to 16% in men of the same age groups.
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