HEALTHIER AGING: Rooting out hypothyroidism in the elderly

December 2005 
Volume 35  Number 12
Pages 65 - 66
  PDF Version Available!



MORE COMMON among older than younger adults, hypothyroidism affects about 11 million people each year in the United States. Women are 10 times more likely than men to have hypothyroidism. More than 10% of women over age 65 and 15% over age 70 are diagnosed with this disorder.

Table. What are normal thyroid lab values?

In this article, I'll tell you how to recognize the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism and what to teach your patients about their treatment.

Thyroid gland trouble

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland fails to secrete enough thyroid hormone.

With subclinical hypothyroidism , the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level is mildly elevated, but the free thyroid hormone (fT 3 and fT 4 ) levels are normal. (See What are normal thyroid lab values? ) Each year, a small percentage of older adults who have subclinical hypothyroidism—more commonly women—will ...

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