OBJECTIVES: Overt hypothyroidism (OH) is associated with premature atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease (CHD). Recently, C-reactive protein (CRP) and total homocysteine (tHct) emerged as additional independent cardiovascular risk factors. Subclinical hypothyroidism (SH), affecting as many as 15% of middle-aged women is not known to be associated with risk for CHD.
DESIGN AND MEASUREMENTS: We measured CRP and tHct levels as well as conventional cardiovascular risk markers in 44 middle-aged women with newly diagnose SH. Results were compared with those obtained in 10 patients with OH and 19 euthyroid controls.
RESULTS: In SH, tHct and CRP levels were not as augmented as compared to controls. Their mean systolic and diastolic blood pressure values were increased vs. controls (p<0.04;p<0.01, respectively). Mean values of total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), triglycerides, TC/HDL-C and LDL-C/HDL-C were not different in patients with SH compared to controls. Individual analysis revealed that the percentage of patients with SH having hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, hypercholesterolemia, elevated TC/HDL-C and LDL-C/HDL-C ratios were higher than the percentage in controls. CRP positively correlated with BMI(r=0.29,p<0.02), and tHct positively correlated with age (r=0.24, p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that subclinical hypothyroidism in middle-aged women is associated with hypertension and dyslipidemia. CRP and tHct do not appear to contribute to the increased risk for CHD in these patients.