People normally associate hypothyroidism with fatigue and obesity.
According to a new study in JAMA Network Open, hypothyroidism can cause even more devastating effects.
It can drastically weaken your bones, causing bone fractures and disability.
It can happen whether or not you know about your hypothyroidism.
The researchers obtained health information about 10,946 people collected in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study. This study enrolled its participants between 1987 and 1989 and is still following them today.
The participants were recruited from Maryland, North Carolina, Mississippi, and Minnesota, and the researchers ensured that the sample included enough younger and black subjects to make their findings more broadly applicable. Of the 10,946 participants, 5,943 (54.3%) were women.
Over the years, they underwent medical examinations that included a check of their thyroid-related hormones. Those with bone fractures were identified via hospitalization discharge codes and Medicare claims.
The researchers made the following discoveries.
1. Those with subclinical hyperthyroidism had a 34% greater chance of bone fractures than those with normal thyroid function.
2. Those with subclinical hypothyroidism had a 10% greater chance of bone fractures than those with normal thyroid function.
These findings indicate that subclinical hyperthyroidism is a far greater problem for bone health than subclinical hypothyroidism is.
This does not mean that you don’t have to worry about subclinical hypothyroidism, of course. It still seems to carry an increased fracture risk and a heart disease risk and thus needs to be prevented.