“Silent” Thyroid Troubles Increase Miscarriage, Fetal Death Risk

“Silent” Thyroid Troubles Increase Miscarriage, Fetal Death Risk

It’s well-known that untreated hypothyroidism can lead to miscarriage and other pregnancy complications. Now new research has shown that even subclinical hypothyroidism — a mild form of the condition that women are often unaware they have — increases the risk of miscarriage, and fetal death, as well.

In subclinical hypothyroidism, levels of circulating thyroid hormone are normal but thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels are increased. The researchers found that the risk of miscarriage appears to increase as TSH levels increase and Free T4 — the major hormone secreted by the thyroid gland — levels decrease.

However, the levels only have to be slightly off — still appearing normal on a lab test — to put the woman at risk. As the researchers stated, “This is the first study to show a risk for miscarriage with thyroid levels in the normal range.”

This is sure to renew debate over whether or not women should be routinely tested for thyroid problems during pregnancy. Currently only those with risk factors for thyroid disease are screened, which means many women with subclinical hypothyroidism, or even full-blown hypothyroidism and minimal symptoms, are missed.

Adding to the problem, conventional lab tests to diagnose the disease can be misleading, labeling thyroid hormones as within the normal range when a problem still exists.

If you experience any symptoms of low-functioning thyroid, such as fatigue, unexplained weight gain, constipation, joint/muscle pain, dry skin, or cold intolerance, be sure to have your thyroid health thoroughly checked, ideally before becoming pregnant.

Clinical Thyroidology for Patients October 2010, Volume 3, Issue 10

National Academy of Hypothyroidism – http://nahypothyroidism.org

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About Dr. Joseph Alaimo
Hi, I'm Dr. Joe Alaimo. I've been practicing in Wilmington, NC , since 1995. My primary practice focus is on chronic pain and metabolic conditions.

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