JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Thyroid function and the metabolic syndrome in older persons: a population-based study.

BACKGROUND: Studies suggest an association between a high TSH and (individual components of) the metabolic syndrome. Only a few studies have been performed in the general older population.

OBJECTIVE: This study investigates the association between serum TSH and the metabolic syndrome in a representative sample of older persons in The Netherlands.

DESIGN AND PATIENTS: Data of the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam were used, which is an ongoing cohort study in a representative sample of Dutch older persons. A total of 1187 subjects (590 men and 597 women) between the ages of 65 and 88 years participated in the study.

MEASUREMENTS: Metabolic syndrome (US National Cholesterol Education Program definition) and its individual components were assessed, as well as serum TSH levels.

RESULTS: Among the participants, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome was 34.2%. The mean serum TSH was 1.9 mU/l. Subjects in the upper quartile with a serum TSH level above 2.28 mU/l (odds ratio (OR)=1.68; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.19-2.37) had a significantly increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome compared with subjects in the lowest quartile with a serum TSH below 1.04 mU/l. After adjustment for confounders, age, sex, alcohol use, total physical activity, and smoking, the OR was 1.62 (95% CI 1.15-2.32).

CONCLUSIONS: Subjects with a serum TSH in the upper quartile have a higher prevalence of metabolic syndrome as compared with subjects with a serum TSH in the lowest quartile.

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