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Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jul;16(4):542-7. doi: 10.4103/2230-8210.98006.

Geriatric thyroidology: An update.

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  • 1Department of Endocrinology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Kochi, Kerala, India.


Thyroid anatomy and physiology change in the elderly with age-related fibrosis and atrophy in the thyroid gland and changes in thyroid hormones. The incidence of thyroid nodules increases with age, making the thyroid more nodular. Hypothyroidism is common in the elderly and, if untreated, is associated with significant morbidity. Elderly patients are sensitive to iatrogenic hyperthyroidism, especially with preexisting cardiac disease. Hence, treatment of hypothyroidism should be individualized and should be started with low doses and titrated according to response. Hyperthyroidism, although less common in the elderly if present, is associated with significant cardiac morbidity and mortality. Radioiodine therapy is considered a safe primary treatment in the elderly with hyperthyroidism. Management of subclinical hypo- and hyperthyroidism is still controversial. The incidence of thyroid tumors increase with age. Thyroid malignancy in the elderly is considered as a more advanced disease compared with the young, and aggressive management is recommended.


Elderly; hyperthyroidism; hypothyroidism; subclinical; thyroid nodules

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