Hypothyroidism is most often caused by an autoimmune process where the body makes antibodies that attack and destroy the thyroid. The thyroid gland then is unable to make enough thyroid hormone and becomes underactive. Patients with hypothyroidism usually complain of symptoms like tiredness, dry skin, constipation, hair loss, moodiness and weight gain. In contrast, patients with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) frequently note symptoms like feeling jumpy, jittery, anxious, heart racing, difficulty sleeping and weight loss. For a very long time, physicians had noticed that the symptoms of thyroid disease may differ in elderly, especially in patients with hyperthyroidism. Sometimes older patients with hyperthyroidism have more symptoms that are associated with hypothyroidism, a condition called “apathetic hyperthyroidism.” The association of age with symptoms of hypothyroidism is less studied, but it is a very important subject. Hypothyroidism is diagnosed more frequently in older age. Generally physicians rely on patient’s symptoms to choose tests necessary to make a diagnosis, it is important to identify how symptoms of elderly with hypothyroidism differ from younger patients. The purpose of this present paper is to evaluate the symptoms of hypothyroidism in different ages and compare them in younger and older groups.
THE FULL ARTICLE TITLE:
Carlé A et al. Hypothyroid symptoms fail to predict thyroid insufficiency in old people: a population-based case-control study. Am J Med. July 6, 2016
SUMMARY OF THE STUDY
The study was done in Denmark and the subjects were selected from an existing Danish project about iodine intake and thyroid disease (Investigation of Iodine Intake and Thyroid Diseases (DanThyr) project). This project consisted of 538,734 participants, from whom 578 were newly diagnosed patients with autoimmune hypothyroidism. A total of 247 patients were invited to participate in the current study and 147 patients agreed to do so. All study subjects in DanThyr project had to fill out questionnaires periodically which asked about 13 symptoms (stuck sensation in the neck, difficulty swallowing, neck pain, wheezing, shortness of breath, palpitations, constipation, hair loss, sensitive and dry skin, restlessness, mood liability, dizziness and tiredness). Click here to link to the questionnaire.