October 27, 2017 – Thyroid and Aging


Anchor lead: Identifying thyroid disease may need to change as people age, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Thyroid diseases are common as people age, especially an underactive thyroid gland known as hypothyroidism. Now a new study by thyroid expert Jenna Mammen at Johns Hopkins and colleagues has shown that as people age, making the diagnosis correctly may require more than just testing thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH, as is commonly done.

Mammen: What these findings mean is that in addition to checking TSH we probably should be looking at thyroid hormone directly in our people in their 70s and 80s. In younger people including people in their fifties and sixties, the vast majority of changes that we see are changes driven by primary thyroid dysfunction and the TSH remains a reliable indicator of thyroid function.  :25

Mammen says older folks may want to ask their physician to test thyroid hormone directly as well as TSH if thyroid disease is suspected. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.