Hashimoto’s thyroiditis affects symptom load and quality of life

BACKGROUND: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (HT) is a common disease, and is the most prevalent cause of hypothyroidism. Symptoms and diseases associated with HT are considered to be caused by hypothyroidism. We hypothesized that higher antithyroperoxidase (anti-TPO) antibody levels would be associated with an increased symptom load and a decreased quality of life in a female euthyroid patient collective.

METHODS: In a prospective cohort study 426 consecutive euthyroid female patients undergoing thyroid surgery for benign thyroid disease were included. Main outcome measures were preoperative anti-TPO levels, a symptom questionnaire and the SF-36 questionnaire, and lymphocytic infiltration of the thyroid tissue as evaluated by histology.

RESULTS: Histology revealed HT in 28/426 (6.6%) subjects. To maximize the sum of the predictive values, a cut-off point for anti-TPO of 121.0 IU/mL was calculated (sensitivity 93.3% [95% confidence interval: 77.9%-99.0%]; specificity 94.7% [95% confidence interval: 92.0%-96.7%]) to predict the presence of histological signs of HT. The mean number of reported symptoms was significantly higher in patients with anti-TPO levels >121.0 IU/mL than in the other group . There were no differences in preoperative thyroid-stimulating hormone levels. Chronic fatigue, dry hair, chronic irritability, chronic nervousness, a history of breast cancer and early miscarriage, and lower quality-of-life levels were significantly associated with anti-TPO levels exceeding the cut-off point .

CONCLUSIONS: Women with HT suffer from a high symptom load. Hypothyroidism is only a contributing factor to the development of associated conditions.

Ott J – Thyroid – 01-FEB-2011; 21(2): 161-7

Ott J; Promberger R; Kober F; Neuhold N; Tea M; Huber JC; Hermann M

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