4 years ago

Prevalence of treated hypothyroidism in the community: Analysis from general practices in North-East England with implications for the United Kingdom

Arvind Rajagopal, Gary Armstrong, Norah Phipps, Farzan Kamali, Salman Razvi, Lorna Ingoe
Objective Hypothyroidism is more frequently diagnosed in women and older individuals. It has been suggested that the prevalence of hypothyroidism and the number of prescriptions for thyroid hormones are increasing. However, despite hypothyroidism being a common medical condition, contemporary data on prevalence, particularly across the various age groups, is limited. Design Information regarding number of individuals diagnosed with treated hypothyroidism (defined as patients prescribed levothyroxine) across ten General Practices (total population of 66 843) in the North-East of England in 2016 was obtained in an anonymized manner. Total as well as age group-specific point prevalence rates were calculated. In addition, corresponding population data for the United Kingdom were acquired, and national total and age-specific hypothyroidism prevalence rates were estimated. Results The overall prevalence of hypothyroidism in this community sample was 4.5% (n = 3004). Prevalence increased across the age groups from 0.1% in children aged 0-10 years to 15.1% in those aged more than 90 years. After adjusting for demographic differences between the North-East England and UK populations, it is estimated that the total UK-wide prevalence of hypothyroidism in 2016 is 3.6%; affecting more than 2.3 million individuals including nearly 800 000 individuals aged >70 years. Conclusions Hypothyroidism affects millions of individuals in the UK and is currently a prevalent diagnosis in more than 1 in 10 individuals aged above 70 years. As the population ages this number is likely to increase. The clinical and economic effects of current management strategies for hypothyroidism, particularly in the older population, need to be evaluated.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/cen.13440

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