Subclinical Hypothyroidism

By Elaine Moore

Subclinical hypothyroidism can cause many of the same symptoms as overt hypothyroidism, and it may increase your risk of heart problems.

Patients with subclinical hypothyroidism have slight elevations of TSH although their thyroid hormone levels are in the normal range. Recent studies indicate that patients with TSH levels >2.0 miu/L often show symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism although TSH levels > 3.0 miu/L are generally used to diagnose subclinical hypothyroidism.

Patients with subclinical hypothyroidism along who also have positive thyroid antibody titers, either thyroglobulin, TPO, or TSH receptor antibodies, have a 5% risk annually of developing overt hypothyroidism.

Subclinical hypothyroidism can develop in Graves' patients who have been ablated even if they are on replacement therapy. Depending on the natural disease course, patients who have long been in remission after using ATD's can also suddenly develop subclinical hypothyroidism.

With the new AACE guidelines for TSH, more people than ever before will finally be diagnosed properly for both subclinical and overt hypothyroidism. According to the new guidelines the normal or reference range for TSH is now 0.3-3.0 mu/L. For patients on replacement hormone, the guidelines recommend keeping TSH within the range of 0.2-1.0 mu/L. ♦

© 21 May 2006 Copyrighted by Elaine Moore

Other Resources: 

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