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Clinical expression, pathophysiological consequences and general health status in elderly individuals with subclinical thyroid dysfunction

McCahon, Deborah (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Subclinical thyroid dysfunction (SCTD), characterised by abnormal serum thyrotrophin concentrations (TSH) with normal free thyroxine (FT\(_4\)), is regularly encountered in primary care. The clinical manifestations of SCTD are not well established, particularly in older individuals in whom SCTD, co-morbid conditions and symptoms frequently occur. This thesis clarifies the clinical expression and pathophysiological consequences of SCTD in the elderly with reference to existing evidence and a cross-sectional study evaluating thyroid function (TF), health status and specific symptoms in community dwelling individuals aged 65 years and above. TF for 2870 participants was categorised, 2703 (94%) euthyroid, 138 (4.8%) subclinical hypothyroidism and 29 (1%) subclinical hyperthyroidism. No significant differences in the prevalence of individual symptoms, pairs of symptoms or multiple symptoms were observed between TF groups. In the presence of individual or multiple symptoms, health status scores were significantly lower. In conclusion, symptoms and impaired health status were not associated with SCTD in this study. Results suggest that assessment of symptoms and health status does not aid clinical decision making with respect to management of SCTD in the elderly. Coupled with weak evidence demonstrating pathophysiological consequences in SCTD, overall findings suggest this population is unlikely to benefit from treatment for SCTD.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Wilson, Sue and Franklyn, Jane A. and Roberts, Lesley
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Medical & Dental Sciences
Department:Primary Care Clinical Sciences, School of Health and Population Studies
Subjects:QP Physiology
RB Pathology
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3480
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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