It is clear that patients with overt hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism (abnormal TSH and abnormal T4 levels) are at increased risk of heart problems. It is less clear that subclinical hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism (abnormal TSH and normal T4 levels). In some studies, abnormal thyroid function has been associated with an increased risk of death related to heart problems.
Adults in their 80s or older are more likely to have abnormal thyroid function, especially higher TSH values, than younger adults. Heart problems are also more common in elderly patients. However, it is unclear whether abnormal thyroid function is associated with increased risk of heart problems and death in these oldest individuals. The objective of this study was to determine whether abnormal thyroid function is associated with disability and death in a group of 85-year-olds.
THE FULL ARTICLE TITLE:
Pearce SH et al Serum thyroid function, mortality and disability in advanced old age: the Newcastle 85+ study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2016. August 23, 2016 [Epub ahead of print].
SUMMARY OF THE STUDY
This was a prospective study that used data from the Newcastle 85+ study. Participants in the study were all born in 1921 and recruited at the age of 85 in 2006-2007. A fasting blood draw, physical exam and health questionnaires were conducted at baseline. Disability scores were based on assessments of daily living at baseline, 18, 36 and 60 months. Causes of death were obtained from the national registration system.