Objectives The aim of this study was to evaluate whether subclinical thyroid disease is associated with impaired health-related quality of life and a more adverse cardiovascular disease risk profile.
Design A community-based cross-sectional study.
Setting and participants A total of 1423 non-healthcare-seeking women, aged 18–75 years were randomly recruited from the community via the electoral roll from April 2002 to August 2003.
Main outcome measures These were the scores for the Short-Form 36 (SF-36), the Psychological General Well-being Index (PGWI), thyroid hormone levels, serum lipids and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP). Subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) and subclinical hyperthyroidism (SCHyper) were defined as serum TSH > 4·0 mIU/l and < 0·5 mIU/l, respectively, with a normal free thyroxine (free T4) level.
Results Evaluable data were available for all participants. 10·7% of all women had an abnormal TSH value. The prevalence of a low TSH level by age group ranged from 1·2% to 6·4%, whereas the prevalence of an elevated TSH level ranged from 2·8% to 9·2% and increased with age (P = 0·002). There were no significant differences between women with SCH or SCHyper and age-matched controls for the total PGWI score or the Mental and Physical Component Scores of the SF-36. Women with SCH were no different from controls for serum lipids or hsCRP. Using linear regression, SCH vs. euthyroidism did not make an independent contribution to variation in either total cholesterol or triglycerides, with or without adjustment for age ± age2 ± BMI.
Conclusions Our data indicate that subclinical thyroid disease in women in the community is not associated with lower well-being or impaired health-related quality of life and SCH is not associated with increased serum markers of CVD risk.