Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Call For More Thyroid Function Tests For Older Patients To Improve Diagnosis Rate

Date:
March 17, 2009
Source:
Society for Endocrinology
Summary:
A new study of over 3500 patients with overactive thyroids shows that elderly patients experience fewer signs and symptoms of the condition. This study is the largest to date to show a difference in symptoms in patients with overactive thyroids according to age. The authors now call for clinicians to adopt a lower threshold for performing thyroid function tests in older adults.

A new study of over 3500 patients with overactive thyroids shows that elderly patients experience fewer signs and symptoms of the condition.

Related Articles


This study, which will be presented at the annual Society for Endocrinology BES meeting in Harrogate, is the largest study to date to show a difference in symptoms in patients with overactive thyroids according to age. The authors, Dr Kristien Boelaert and colleagues at the University of Birmingham, now call for clinicians to adopt a lower threshold for performing thyroid function tests in older adults.

The thyroid is an endocrine gland that produces hormones which control the body’s metabolism. When the thyroid becomes overactive due to disease, it releases an excess of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream, a condition called hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is common, affecting up to 2% of the UK population and is most prevalent in young and middle-aged women. It causes the body’s metabolism to speed up, leading to a variety of symptoms including weight loss and tiredness.

Hyperthyroidism often goes undiagnosed, especially in elderly patients, despite the presence of clinical symptoms. To investigate further, Dr Kristien Boelaert and colleagues looked at the influence of age on the clinical symptoms of 3563 UK patients with hyperthyroidism. They divided these patients into four groups according to their age: 16-32 years (n=877); 33-44 years (n=878); 45-60 years (n=926); 61-91 years (n=882).

They found classic symptoms of hyperthyroidism such as palpitations, tremor, anxiety, heat intolerance, diarrhoea and neck swelling were less common in older patients. Patients in the older age group were more likely to present with no symptoms (13%; 12%; 11%; 17% in respective groups, p<0.001) and least likely to experience five or more symptoms (29%; 33%; 32%, 13%, p<0.001). This could explain why hyperthyroidism often goes undiagnosed in this older age group. The authors are now calling on clinicians to offer thyroid function tests more readily to older adults, to improve the diagnosis rate of hyperthyroidism in this age group.

Researcher Dr Kristien Boelaert said:

“Hyperthyroidism affects up to 2% of the population but often goes undiagnosed, especially in the elderly. In this study, we assessed the clinical symptoms of patients with hyperthyroidism in different age groups. Our findings show that classic symptoms of hyperthyroidism are less common in older patients who have different clinical profiles. We show that older adults with raised thyroid hormone levels are likely to experience fewer symptoms, making hyperthyroidism more difficult to detect. This helps to explain why hyperthyroidism often goes undiagnosed in elderly patients. We now call on clinicians to lower the threshold for performing thyroid function tests in older adults, in order to improve the diagnosis rate of hyperthyroidism in this age group.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for Endocrinology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for Endocrinology. "Call For More Thyroid Function Tests For Older Patients To Improve Diagnosis Rate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090317201135.htm>.
Society for Endocrinology. (2009, March 17). Call For More Thyroid Function Tests For Older Patients To Improve Diagnosis Rate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090317201135.htm
Society for Endocrinology. "Call For More Thyroid Function Tests For Older Patients To Improve Diagnosis Rate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090317201135.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins