Hypothyroidism in the elderly. When symptoms are not a 'normal' part of aging

L M Stuck, K F McFarland
Postgraduate Medicine 1991, 90 (8): 141-3, 146
Clinical findings alone may not lead to prompt diagnosis of hypothyroidism in elderly patients. Therefore, routine thyroid function tests may be warranted in older patients, especially women. Serum thyrotropin (TSH) is the most sensitive marker for hypothyroidism, although the test is more costly than that for serum thyroxine (T4). Patients with overt hypothyroidism who have elevated TSH and low T4 levels require replacement therapy. In addition, patients who have a TSH level higher than 20 microU/mL or who have a mildly elevated TSH level and high titers of antithyroid antibodies may benefit from prophylactic treatment. The usual recommended replacement dose is 0.05 to 0.1 mg/day of levothyroxine sodium (Levothroid, Synthroid).

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