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Rev Clin Esp (Barc). 2013 Nov;213(8):363-9. doi: 10.1016/j.rce.2013.04.009. Epub 2013 Jun 15.

Burden of illness attributable to subclinical hypothyroidism in the Spanish population.

[Article in English, Spanish]

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  • 1Servicio de Endocrinología y Nutrición, Hospital Universitario Fundación Alcorcón, Alcorcón, Madrid, España.



Subclinical hypothyroidism (SH) has been associated recently to cardiovascular diseases. However, the loss of health it entails remains unknown. This study has assessed the burden of illness attributable to SH in Spain.


Based on the Spanish prevalence data found in international studies, a theoretical model was developed to estimate the Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), Years of Life Lost (YLL) and Years Lost due to Disability (YLD) associated with SH. Prevalence of risk factors, coronary mortality risk and coronary event risk associated with SH were obtained from a review of the literature. An analysis was conducted according to the World Health Organization methodology approach for these studies, using official Spanish sources (hospital discharge records, minimum basic data set [MBDS], inpatient mortality records, etc.


In Spain, approximately 2,767,124 people have SH, specifically 1,949,820 with levels of TSH between 4.5 and 6.9mIU/l (70.5%), 538,988 with levels between 7 and 9.9mIU/l (19.5%), and 278,317 between 10 and 19.9mIU/l (10%). These subjects suffer approximately 12,608 cardiac events and 1,388 deaths a year attributed to their SH. This represents 30,550 DALYs (13,124 YLL and 17,426 YLD). Between 1.6 and 7.3% of cardiovascular DALYs can be attributed to SH.


SH is a silent disease which considerably increases the burden of disease. Evaluation of SH, at least in patients belonging to risk groups, could be cost-effective.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier España, S.L. All rights reserved.


Años de salud perdidos por discapacidad; Años de vida ajustados por discapacidad; Años de vida perdidos; Burden of illness; Carga de enfermedad; Disability-adjusted life year; Hipotiroidismo; Hipotiroidismo subclínico; Hypothyroidism; Subclinical hypothyroidism; Years lost due to disability; Years of life lost

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