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Eur Thyroid J. 2012 Oct;1(3):159-67. doi: 10.1159/000342994. Epub 2012 Sep 22.

Thyroid function and obesity.

Author information

1
Department of Endocrinology, Aalborg Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark.
2
Medical Clinic I, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Abstract

Important interaction exists between thyroid function, weight control, and obesity. Several mechanisms seem to be involved, and in studies of groups of people the pattern of thyroid function tests depends on the balance of obesity and underlying thyroid disease in the cohort studied. Obese people with a normal thyroid gland tend to have activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis with higher serum TSH and thyroid hormones in serum. On the other hand, small differences in thyroid function are associated with up to 5 kg difference in body weight. The weight loss after therapy of overt hypothyroidism is caused by excretion of water bound in tissues (myxoedema). Many patients treated for hyperthyroidism experience a gain of more weight than they lost during the active phase of the disease. The mechanism for this excessive weight gain has not been fully elucidated. New studies on the relation between L-T3 therapy and weight control are discussed. The interaction between weight control and therapy of thyroid disease is important to many patients and it should be studied in more detail.

KEYWORDS:

Graves’ disease; Hyperthyroidism; Hypothyroidism; Levothyroxine therapy; Liothyronine therapy; Obesity; Thyroid function; Weight control

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