Dr. Jose Augusto Sgarbi of Brazil reported at the American Thyroid Association meeting this fall that subclinical thyroid disease increases all-cause mortality (especially from cardiovascular disease). “Subclinical” is defined as normal thyroid hormones but either high or low TSH, which is a feedback hormone from the pituitary gland. Previously, there was a controversy about whether these conditions should be treated. At COHA, we go one step further. Even in patients with normal TSH, if they have clear symptoms of low thyroid and their thyroid thermography is hypometabollic (low function), we will treat with a small dose of natural thyroid hormone to boost thyroid function. Not only, do patients almost always feel better, but we might be extending their lives as well. Further research is needed. Ask to take our thyroid symptom questionnaire if you suspect that you have low thyroid function.
American Thyroid Association and to Family Practice News, October 15, 2008 (membership required).