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The Epidemiology of Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

  • Chapter
Autoimmune Endocrinopathies

Part of the book series: Contemporary Endocrinology ((COE,volume 15))

Abstract

Epidemiology is the study of the frequency of disease within the community, and requires analysis and interpretation of distribution patterns of disease in terms of possible causal factors. Proof of causal association between a factor and a disease, is however, seldom provided by an epidemiological study. Thyroid dysfunction can be classified according to the severity of clinical findings, serum hormone levels, the presence or absence of thyroid antibodies, or the biochemical or physiological effect in the target tissues. The problems encountered in epidemiological studies of thyroid disorders are those of definition, e.g., overt hypothyroidism and subclinical hypothyroidism, the selection criteria used, the influence of age, sex, environmental factors, and the different techniques used for the measurement of thyroid function (see also Chapter 9). The most commonly used initial tests in epidemiological surveys are measurements of serum total or free thyroxine (T4) and sensitive (second- generation) thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).

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Vanderpump, M.P.J., Michael, W., Tunbridge, G. (1999). The Epidemiology of Autoimmune Thyroid Disease. In: Volpé, R. (eds) Autoimmune Endocrinopathies. Contemporary Endocrinology, vol 15. Humana Press, Totowa, NJ. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-59259-704-8_6

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