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Thyroid. 2007 Nov;17(11):1075-84.

Cardiovascular risk and subclinical hypothyroidism: focus on lipids and new emerging risk factors. What is the evidence?

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Endocrine Unit, Evgenidion Hospital, University of Athens, Medical School, 20 Papadiamantopolou Street, Athens, Greece.


Controversy remains as to the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) associated with subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH), defined as an increased serum thyrotropin (TSH) concentration with normal free thyroxine and triiodothyronine levels. Substantial evidence indicates altered cholesterol and lipoprotein metabolism in SCH when serum TSH is above 10 mU/L. Observed abnormalities include elevated plasma levels of total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C); the altered TC/high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and LDL-C/HDL-C ratios suggest a potential accelerated risk for CVD. The influence of SCH on lipids is directly proportional to the degree of TSH elevation and becomes more significant with the progression from SCH to overt disease, thereby accelerating any propensity to atherosclerosis. Although many clinicians may tend to ignore SCH with TSH levels <10, it is apparent that an enhanced CV risk could apply to these individuals, perhaps compounded by insulin resistance and amplified by the copresence of other risk factors such as endothelial dysfunction and elevated C-reactive protein.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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