Thyroid Dysfunction and Hyperlipidemia

Angela M. Leung, MD, MSc Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine University of California Los AngelesMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Angela M. Leung, MD, MSc
Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine
Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine
University of California Los Angeles

 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Leung: Despite current guidelines to screen for thyroid dysfunction as a secondary cause of newly-diagnosed hyperlipidemia, this was performed only about 50% of the time by primary care providers in over 8,700 patients at a large, urban Boston academic medical center. Approximately 5% of patients who had thyroid function checked were found to have hypothyroidism. The majority of hypothyroid patients who received treatment with levothyroxine had successful correction of the initial hyperlipidemia within one year.

MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Leung: The underutilization of current recommendations regarding thyroid function screening in hyperlipidemic patients was previously unknown. The proportion of hyperlipidemic patients with underlying hypothyroidism is consistent with other reports.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Leung: The study highlights the need for greater awareness of possible underlying hypothyroidism in some patients with newly-diagnosed hyperlipidemia. The guidelines recommend screening with a serum TSH in such patients. Treatment with levothyroxine, if hypothyroidism is found, may be able to correct the hyperlipidemia and perhaps alleviate the need for a lipid-lowering medication.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Leung: Further research is needed to study the low thyroid function testing rates pertaining to and the cost-effectiveness of the current guidelines in patients with newly-diagnosed hyperlipidemia.

Citation:

Thyroid Function Testing in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Hyperlipidemia

Willard DL, Leung AM, Pearce EN. Thyroid Function Testing in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Hyperlipidemia. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;():-. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.12188.