Hypothyroidism in Adults Early Clinical Presentation in Relation to Age
Kerbala Journal of Medicine,
2009, Volume 2, Issue 3, Pages 352-356
AbstractBackground: Hypothyroidism in adults is not a rare disease but has non –specific clinical
presentation which may delay its diagnosis.
Objective: the aim of the study is to identify the presenting symptoms of hypothyroidism,
their frequency & their relation to age.
Patients & Method : All adult patients > over 18 years of age who attended the consultation
clinic, in Al-Hussein Teaching Hospital / Karbala, from January 2002 to December 2007
showing clinical features suggestive of hypothyroidism were sent for T3, T4 & TSH.
Results: Sixty eight patients were found to have hypothyroidism, 52 females & 16 males
(F/M ratio 4.7:1). Seventy percent of the group are less than 55 yr of age, their mean age is
42.3 yr. Malaise & arthralgia were the main complaints especially in those aged 55year &
over (69% & 25%) respectively while skin changes were the main early physical signs in
those less than 55yr of age (26%).
Discussion: Hypothyroidism is a disease which may present in a nonspecific clinical picture
such as malaise or fatigability especially in elderly or skin changes in young age group or as
menstrual irregularities in young females.
Conclusion: High index of suspicion is the main initial tool for diagnosis of hypothyroidism
& should be considered in any elderly patient with unexplained malaise or fatigability or in
young females with unexplained menstrual irregularities. To look for other physical
symptoms & signs in those patients which may mandate sending them for thyroid function
test or at least only TSH level.
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