Subclinical hypothyroidism is common in older people and its contribution to health and disease needs to be elucidated further. Observational and clinical trial data on the clinical effects of subclinical hypothyroidism in persons aged 80 years and over is inconclusive, with some studies suggesting harm and some suggesting benefits, translating into equipoise whether levothyroxine therapy provides clinical benefits. This manuscript describes the study protocol for the Institute for Evidence-Based Medicine in Old Age (IEMO) 80-plus thyroid trial to generate the necessary evidence base.
lobally, populations are ageing at a rapid rate. The increase in the number of older citizens is accompanied by an increased prevalence of thyroid dysfunction, one of the most common disorders in older people. However, the diagnosis of thyroid dysfunction in older people is hindered by several factors, including the scarcity of thyroid dysfunction symptoms in older people. We describe the physiological changes in thyroid function that occur with increasing age, focusing on literature regarding changes in thyroid function test results in older populations. We also discuss treatment considerations for clinical and subclinical thyroid dysfunction according to international guidelines for older people. Finally, we discuss the relationship between variations in thyroid function and common diseases of old age including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cognitive impairment, and frailty and suggest directions for future research.
The use of levothyroxine to treat subclinical hypothyroidism is controversial. We aimed to determine whether levothyroxine provided clinical benefits in older persons with this condition.