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Review: Fracture Risk Up With Subclinical Hyperthyroidism

Researchers found greater risk of hip, other fractures

WEDNESDAY, May 27, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Subclinical hyperthyroidism ups risk for hip and other fractures, according to a review published in the May 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“There have been several studies that have previously suggested an increased risk for fractures, but up until now it wasn’t clear if it was a real association,” study author Nicolas Rodondi, M.D., head of the ambulatory care department at Bern University Hospital in Switzerland, told HealthDay. The researchers looked at 13 past studies involving 70,298 patients to investigate the association between subclinical thyroid dysfunction and hip, nonspine, spine, or any fractures.

Among the pool of patients studied, 3.2 percent had subclinical hyperthyroidism and 5.8 percent had subclinical hypothyroidism. Ultimately, the review team found no link between having subclinical hypothyroidism and increased fracture risk. But those with subclinical hyperthyroidism did appear to face a higher risk for fracture. The finding held up regardless of age or gender, though the research team said it did not have enough data to comment on how race might figure into the equation.

“It also remains controversial whether all elderly people should be routinely screened for hyperthyroidism, which is something we cannot address based on this study,” Rodondi added. “And the problem, of course, is that most of the patients with a subclinical condition have no symptoms. So if we don’t screen, we don’t know there’s a problem.”

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