Thyroid disorders are among the most common diseases of the endocrine system. A new study now reveals that both an overactive as well as an underactive thyroid can have a negative impact on bone mass.
By Vasilios Pergialiotis
Thyroid dysfunction is a leading endocrine disorder at international level with an estimated prevalence of approximately 3-4%. Patients with subclinical hypothyroidism (having an underactive thyroid without obvious symptoms) represent a specific subgroup that needs to be approached carefully.
Current literature suggests its incidence in the elderly population may reach 10% of the population. Several studies published in the last two decades appear to underline the influence of thyroid disorders on bone density, while current knowledge suggests that whereas subclinical hypothyroidism does not appear to affect bone health, overt hyperthyroidism (having an overactive thyroid) exerts a clear negative effect.
In a recently published study from the journal Hormone Molecular Biology and Clinical Investigation, a group of Greek researchers evaluated the impact of thyroid disorders on bone density and biochemical markers of bone metabolism in a series of post-menopausal women.
The results of the study confirmed that both hyper- and hypothyroidism exert a direct negative influence on bone mass. This association was independent of age, BMI, family history of osteoporosis and age at menopause – factors previously related to bone health. The exact mechanism that underlies this effect remains unknown.
Future studies are now needed to evaluate the impact of thyroid supplementation therapy on bone health and to investigate the impact of hypothyroidism (in untreated, “neglected” patients) on bone metabolism.
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Konstantinos Tsevis, Eftihios Trakakis, Vasilios Pergialiotis, Eleni Alhazidou, Melpomeni Peppa, Charalampos Chrelias, Nikolaos Papantoniou, Periklis Panagopoulos: The influence of thyroid disorders on bone density and biochemical markers of bone metabolism, 18.09.2018.