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The effect of L-thyroxine replacement therapy on lipid based cardiovascular risk in subclinical hypothyroidism

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Abstract

The aim of our study was to assess the changes in serum lipid profiles after replacement therapy with L-T4 in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH), and to see whether there is an improvement in dyslipidemia based cardiovascular risk. Thirty non-smoker pre-menopausal women with newly diagnosed SCH (TSH between 4 and 10 μIU/ml) were involved in our study; twenty-six euthyroid healthy subjects were used as control group. TSH, free T3 (FT3), free T4 (FT4), total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) and LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) levels were measured before and after 6 months of L-T4 (50–100 μg/day) therapy. TSH levels were targeted as <2.0 μIU/ml. LDL-C was calculated using the Friedewald formula, while the cardiovascular risk was assessed with the TC/HDL-C ratio. Pre-treatment serum TC and LDL-C concentrations in SCH patients were significantly higher than those of euthyroid subjects (199.8±22.2 vs 181.5±24.6 mg/dl, p<0.01; 146.3±26.1 vs 124.8±12 mg/dl, p<0.001, respectively). TC, LDL-C levels and the TC/HDL-C ratio were reduced significantly after 6-month replacement therapy (−21.1±34.4 mg/dl or −10.5%, p<0.01; −21.5±30.3 mg/dl or −14.7%, p<0.001, respectively; and TC/HDL-C from 4.8±0.6 to 4.1±0.5 mg/dl, p<0.01), while body mass index (BMI) values did not change. In conclusion, even mild elevations of TSH are associated with changes in lipid profile significant enough to raise the cardiovascular risk ratio, and these changes are corrected once the patients have been rendered euthyroid.

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Serter, R., Demirbas, B., Korukluoglu, B. et al. The effect of L-thyroxine replacement therapy on lipid based cardiovascular risk in subclinical hypothyroidism. J Endocrinol Invest 27, 897–903 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03347530

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