Frequency of thyroid dysfunction in diabetic patients: value of annual screening

Diabet Med. 1995 Jul;12(7):622-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.1995.tb00553.x.


A randomly selected group of 1310 adult diabetic patients attending a diabetic outpatient clinic received annual screening for thyroid disease, by estimating serum free thyroxine and TSH concentrations. The overall prevalence of thyroid disease was found to be 13.4%, and was highest (31.4%) in Type 1 diabetic females, and lowest in Type 2 diabetic males (6.9%). As a direct result of screening, new thyroid disease was diagnosed in 6.8% (89 patients) of the population screened; the commonest diagnosis was subclinical hypothyroidism (4.8%), followed by hypothyroidism (0.9%), hyperthyroidism 0.5%), and subclinical hyperthyroidism (0.5%). Female patients with Type 1 diabetes had the highest annual risk of developing thyroid disease (12.3%), but all patient groups had a higher incidence of thyroid dysfunction, compared to that reported in the general population. This study suggests that thyroid function should be screened annually in diabetic patients to detect asymptomatic thyroid dysfunction which is increased in frequency in a diabetic population.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / complications*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / epidemiology*
  • Hyperthyroidism / prevention & control
  • Hypothyroidism / epidemiology*
  • Hypothyroidism / prevention & control
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Prevalence
  • Random Allocation
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Thyrotropin / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood


  • Thyrotropin
  • Thyroxine