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Am Fam Physician. 1998 Feb 15;57(4):776-80.

Subclinical hypothyroidism: deciding when to treat.

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  • Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.

Abstract

While screening patients for thyroid disease, physicians often find increased thyrotropin-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels in patients whose free thyroxine (T4) levels are not below normal. This state, termed "subclinical hypothyroidism," is most commonly an early stage of hypothyroidism. Although the condition may resolve or remain unchanged, within a few years in some patients, overt hypothyroidism develops, with low free T4 levels as well as a raised TSH level. The likelihood that this will happen increases with greater TSH elevations and detectable antithyroid antibodies. Because patients with subclinical hypothyroidism sometimes have subtle hypothyroid symptoms and may have mild abnormalities of serum lipoproteins and cardiac function, patients with definite and persistent TSH elevation should be considered for thyroid treatment. Levothyroxine, in a dosage that maintains serum TSH levels within the normal range, is the preferred therapy in these patients.

PMID:
9491000
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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