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  • Anonymous
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      Hi ALL,
      Here is an atricle posted on heathnet today. Looks like the word is getting out! Horray!

      NEW YORK, Jul 15 (Reuters) — Women over 50 years of age should be screened once every 5 years for thyroid disorders, according to new guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP). “Screening can detect symptomatic but unsuspected overt thyroid dysfunction,” conclude researchers Dr. Mark Helfand of the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, in Portland, Oregon, and Dr. Craig Redfern of the PACE Center, also located in Portland. The ACP guidelines, formulated on the basis of a review of the literature conducted by Helfand and Redfern, are published in the July 15th issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped organ lying at the front of the throat, produces thyroid hormone, which helps regulate to the body’s metabolism. Too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) can result in agitation, palpitations and weight loss. Too little thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) can result in sluggishness, dry skin, hair loss and weight gain. A simple blood test measuring the levels of a pituitary hormone that helps regulate the thyroid, called TSH, can usually indicate thyroid dysfunction. This test can be followed up with a blood test measuring levels of thyroxine, a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland itself. While overt hyper- or hypothyroidism are easily diagnosed by physicians, the illness can be less apparent in its early or “subclinical” stages. Helfand and Redfern surveyed the results of dozens of recent studies to ascertain the benefits of thyroid screening. Screening involves a simple blood test measuring levels of TSH. Following their review of 55 different studies, the authors found that about 1 in every 71 women over the age of 60 years tests positive for either “overt hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.” Therefore, they conclude that “it is reasonable to screen women older than 50 years of age for unsuspected but symptomatic thyroid disease.” Given the slow progression of thyroid disease, they say that screening need only be repeated once every 5 years. Conversely, the experts recommend that “screening in women younger than 50 years of age and in men is not warranted because the prevalence of overt thyroid dysfunction is low.”
      SOURCE: Annals of Internal Medicine 1998;129:141-143, 144-158.

      © 1998, Reuters Health Information Services


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