[Thyroid in the elderly (Part 1)]

Rev Med Interne. 2013 Oct;34(10):623-7. doi: 10.1016/j.revmed.2012.11.011. Epub 2013 Jan 23.
[Article in French]


Aging is associated with changes in thyroid function at several levels of regulation. Thyroid hormones levels are usually within the lower part of normal values reported in the general population. Two changes in aging are of clinical importance: a shift in the distribution of TSH levels, the 97.5th percentile of the TSH distribution being within 6 μUI/ml after 70 years and within 7.5 μUI/ml in subjects older than 80 instead of 4.5 μU/ml in the general population, and an increased prevalence of thyroid nodularity, requiring reliable and non-invasive methods of investigation in older people. Lastly, aging may be associated with comorbidities, high risk of drug interactions and under nutrition, which may make difficult the interpretation of laboratory data and in some cases induce iatrogenic thyroid diseases. Considering the high prevalence of the thyroid diseases in older patients and a better understanding of the physiopathological hormonal variations with the ageing, it seemed useful to propose a review to help the clinician in the care of these situations.

Keywords: Dysthyroïdies; Elderly; Hormones thyroïdiennes; Sujet âgé de plus de 65 ans; Thyroid; Thyroid Diseases; Thyroid hormones; Thyroïde.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / complications
  • Drug-Related Side Effects and Adverse Reactions / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease / epidemiology
  • Reference Values
  • Thyroid Diseases / epidemiology
  • Thyroid Diseases / etiology
  • Thyroid Function Tests / standards
  • Thyroid Gland / anatomy & histology
  • Thyroid Gland / physiology*