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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Subclinical Hypothyroidism, SCH, has been detected with increasing frequency in recent years and has brought about major controversies regarding management and treatment [Meier et al., 2001]. The condition is characterized as having a high concentration of thyroid stimulating hormone, yet normal thyroid hormone levels and is often asymptomatic. Scientific articles retrieved from various databases helped determine some of the long term risk factors associated with SCH, including progression to overt hypothyroidism, fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease, neuropsychiatric complications and reproductive malfunctions. Studies determining the clinical and metabolic effects of L-thyroxine hormone replacement therapy on symptoms and potential risks of SCH on various patient populations were investigated and compared to controls that were not treated or were given a placebo drug. After considering both the arguments promoting treatment and others opposing it, conclusions were drawn regarding the promotion or discouragement of hormonal treatment for patients in different age brackets and stages of life. In general, the greatest benefits of treatment are observed in patients with thyroid-stimulating hormone levels ranging over 10mIU/L, younger patients with slightly elevated thyroid-stimulating hormones who are at risk for cardiovascular disease and for pregnant women with gestational SCH. On the contrary, L-thyroxine treatment therapy is not as crucial for the elderly population or patients with slightly elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone values when there are no apparent symptoms of hypothyroidism being experienced.

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