What are the risks of taking too much thyroid hormone? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Thyroid hormone is used by millions of people worldwide, right up there with statins. Now a study by endocrinologist Jennifer Mammen and colleagues at Johns Hopkins finds that many people may be taking too much thyroid hormone, with some potentially serious complications.

Mammen:    it turns out that about 20% of people who are on thyroid hormone have levels that suggest that they're overtreated. We know that this causes increased rates of atrial fibrillation which is an irregular heart rhythm. There have been some recent studies suggesting that it might contribute to low bone density and increased fracture risk and there's been some controversial data about whether or not this might increase cognitive disorders.     :26

Mammen says about 10% of older adults are taking thyroid hormone, so understanding who really needs it and in whom it may be risky is important for preserving functionality as people age. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.