Hypothyroidism in Adults Early Clinical Presentation in Relation to Age


Background: Hypothyroidism in adults is not a rare disease but has non –specific clinicalpresentation 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 consultationclinic, in Al-Hussein Teaching Hospital / Karbala, from January 2002 to December 2007showing 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 is42.3 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 inthose less than 55yr of age (26%).Discussion: Hypothyroidism is a disease which may present in a nonspecific clinical picturesuch as malaise or fatigability especially in elderly or skin changes in young age group or asmenstrual 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 inyoung females with unexplained menstrual irregularities. To look for other physicalsymptoms & signs in those patients which may mandate sending them for thyroid functiontest or at least only TSH level.