Format

Send to

Choose Destination
J Am Geriatr Soc. 1996 Jan;44(1):50-3.

Differences in the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism in older and younger patients.

Author information

1
Département de gérontologie clinique, Centre Hospitalier et Universitaire de Rouen, France.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To determine if aging modifies the clinical presentation of hyperthyroidism and the signs of thyrotoxicosis in older people.

DESIGN:

Prospective cohort study.

SETTING:

A French university hospital.

SUBJECTS:

Eighty-four new patients with overt hyperthyroidism confirmed chemically between January 1992 and January 1993. Controls were 68 older euthyroid patients matched to the older hyperthyroid patients.

MEASUREMENTS:

Comparison of 19 classical signs of hyperthyroidism between 34 older patients (> or = 70 years; mean age 80.2) and 50 younger patients (< or = 50 years; mean age 37.4). Older patients were also compared with controls (mean age 81.3).

RESULTS:

Three signs were found in more than 50% of older patients: tachycardia, fatigue, and weight loss. Seven signs were found significantly less frequently in older patients (P < .001): hyperactive reflexes, increased sweating, heat intolerance, tremor, nervousness, polydipsia, and increased appetite. Only anorexia (32% vs 4%) and atrial fibrillation (35% vs 2%) were more found frequently in older people (P < .001). A goiter was present in 94% of the younger and in 50% of the older patients (P < .001). The mean number of clinical signs found in the older subjects was significantly smaller than the number found in younger patients (6 vs 10.8; P < .001). Comparison with older controls showed three signs that were highly associated with thyrotoxicosis in older people: apathy (Odd ratio (OR): 14.8), tachycardia (OR: 11.2), and weight loss (OR: 8.7).

CONCLUSION:

This study confirms the paucity of clinical signs of hyperthyroidism in older adults. These results suggest the necessity of routine screening for thyroid disease in this age group.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center