Prevalence of hypothyroidism in rheumatoid arthritis and its correlation with disease activity

Trop Doct. 2017 Jan;47(1):6-10. doi: 10.1177/0049475515627235. Epub 2016 Jan 20.


Objectives: To analyse the prevalence of hypothyroidism in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and to elucidate its correlation with disease activity.

Methods: A total of 52 RA patients were enrolled in this study. All patients were assessed fully clinically and underwent routine laboratory investigation including thyroid function testing.

Results: Hypothyroidism (defined as having a TSH level >4.20 μIU/mL) was observed in 20/52 (38.4%). Erythrocyte sedimentation rates (ESR) were found significantly elevated in patients with hypothyroidism compared to those without (36.3 ± 24.2 vs. 24.6 ± 9.0 mm/h). Disease activity parameters such as DAS-28-ESR, tender joint count; VAS scores were also significantly higher in the former. A significant correlation with serum TSH levels was observed with ESR and DAS-28-ESR.

Conclusion: Thyroid function test should be included in clinical evaluation of RA patients.

Keywords: Autoimmune thyroid disease; disease activity score; hypothyroidism; rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Blood Sedimentation
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / blood
  • Hypothyroidism / complications
  • Hypothyroidism / epidemiology*
  • India / epidemiology
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Thyroid Function Tests