The debate on treating subclinical hypothyroidism

Eng Loon Tng; Tng, Eng Loon
October 2016
Singapore Medical Journal;Oct2016, Vol. 57 Issue 10, p539
Academic Journal
journal article
Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) represents a mild or compensated form of primary hypothyroidism. The diagnosis of SCH is controversial, as its symptoms are non-specific and its biochemical diagnosis is arbitrary. The treatment of SCH was examined among non-pregnant adults, pregnant adults and children. In non-pregnant adults, treatment of SCH may prevent its progression to overt hypothyroidism, reduce the occurrence of coronary heart disease, and improve neuropsychiatric and musculoskeletal symptoms associated with hypothyroidism. These benefits are counteracted by cardiovascular, neuropsychiatric and musculoskeletal side effects. SCH is associated with adverse maternal and fetal outcomes that may improve with treatment. Treating SCH in children is safe and may improve growth. Importantly, the evidence in this field is largely from retrospective and prospective studies with design limitations, which precludes a conclusive recommendation for the treatment of SCH.


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