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Disease & Condition, Subclinical Hypothyroidism

Subclinical Hypothyroidism - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Diet

HealthcareOnTime Team 2021-07-05 2023-07-20 4 Min Read
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  • Subclinical Hypothyroidism - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment & Diet

    What Is Subclinical Hypothyroidism?

    Subclinical hypothyroidism is a term used to describe the mild condition of hypothyroidism. In which there is a reduction of the thyroid activity, leading to elevation of serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), while the free thyroxine and free triiodothyronine level are within the normal reference range. It is also called “compensated hypothyroidism”. The normal range of the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is within 0.30-5.50 mIU/mL. The raises between 5.50-10 mIU/Lin SCH condition.

    Did You know:

    • 3 to 8 percent of people have subclinical hypothyroidism, this seemingly benign condition can potentially progress to full-blown hypothyroidism over time.
    • it was found that 26.8 percent of individuals with subclinical hypothyroidism developed full-blown hypothyroidism within six years of their initial diagnosis.

    The condition is more prevalent than most people realize it. Women are affected twice more than men and the chances increase as the age progresses. The commonest cause of subclinical hypothyroidism is autoimmune thyroiditis People who are suffering from type 1 diabetes are at the foremost risk.

    Autoimmune thyroiditis, commonly called Hashimoto's disease is basically the primary reason for the development of subclinical hypothyroidism. It is a result of the malfunctioning of the immune system, where the immune system of the individual recognizes normal thyroid cells as foreign tissue, and it produces the antibodies that may destroy the thyroid cells. Many people do not know they might be having this condition and they might go a long without being diagnosed.

    subclinical hypothyroidism causes

    Subclinical Hypothyroidism Causes

    Autoimmune thyroiditis, often known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis, is the most prevalent cause of subclinical hypothyroidism. In this illness, the body's immune system assaults the thyroid gland by mistake, causing inflammation and decreased hormone synthesis.

    Other possibilities for subclinical hypothyroidism include:

    • Individuals who have had thyroid surgery or radioactive iodine therapy for thyroid problems may develop subclinical hypothyroidism as a result.
    • In areas where dietary iodine consumption is inadequate, the thyroid gland may fail to produce enough thyroid hormones, resulting in subclinical hypothyroidism.
    • Medications, such as lithium or amiodarone, might interfere with thyroid hormone production and contribute to subclinical hypothyroidism.
    • As people become older, their thyroid function normally declines, which can lead to subclinical hypothyroidism in some situations.

    Subclinical Hypothyroidism Risk and Complications

    Subclinical hypothyroidism may bring a number of hazards and problems, albeit not everyone with this illness may experience them. Some of the dangers connected with subclinical hypothyroidism include:

    • Progression to Overt Hypothyroidism: One of the biggest concerns with subclinical hypothyroidism is the likelihood of it evolving to full-blown hypothyroidism, in which thyroid hormone levels decline further, causing noticeable symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain, and cold intolerance.
    • Pregnancy Complications: Pregnant women with untreated or poorly controlled subclinical hypothyroidism are at an increased risk of pregnancy-related complications such as preterm birth, preeclampsia, and foetal neurodevelopmental disorders.
    • Symptoms and Quality of Life: While subclinical hypothyroidism is frequently asymptomatic, some people may have minor symptoms or a lower quality of life even if they do not satisfy the criteria for complete hypothyroidism.
    • Impact on Fertility: Although the data is mixed, subclinical hypothyroidism may have an effect on fertility in certain people.
    • Cardiovascular disorders: Subclinical hypothyroidism has been related to an increased risk of cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease and high cholesterol levels.
    subclinical hypothyroidism symptoms

    Subclinical Hypothyroidism Symptoms

    Symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism are:

    • Fatigue
    • Mild weight gain
    • Cold sensitivity
    • Dry skin
    • Hair changes (brittle, thinning, or hair loss)
    • Mood changes (mild mood swings or feelings of depression)
    • Muscle aches and weakness

    It's crucial to remember that these symptoms might be subtle and may be misdiagnosed or dismissed as natural indicators of ageing or ordinary stress. Because the symptoms of subclinical hypothyroidism are not unique, it is frequently discovered through standard pathology lab test or at-home blood testing , especially if there are risk factors or concerns about thyroid function.

    Because subclinical hypothyroidism can evolve to overt hypothyroidism over time, it is important to have regular monitoring and follow-up with a healthcare practitioner, especially if any symptoms worsen or new ones appear. If you suspect you have subclinical hypothyroidism or are experiencing any troubling symptoms, visit a healthcare practitioner immediately for proper examination and management.

    Subclinical Hypothyroidism Diagnosis

    The diagnosis of subclinical hypothyroidism requires an in-depth analysis of the patient's history, a close careful examination of the symptoms, and the correct interpretation of the test results.

    TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone or Thyrotropin) Test - As the TSH has a log-linear relationship with the circulating thyroid hormones, TSH Blood Test is necessary for the diagnosis of the mild thyroid hormone. Where the level of the TSH is above the upper limit, keeping the level of the free triiodothyronine and free thyroxine within the normal ranges.

    But the test report showing slightly elevated TSH and normal thyroid hormone level does not necessarily imply the presence of subclinical hypothyroidism. Certain medications and conditions bring about fluctuation in the level of TSH, pushing the value to the higher side. Drugs like sulfonyl ureas, lithium, amiodarone, ethionamide, phenylbutazone, and many more interfere with the mechanism of thyroid hormone production and raise TSH level. Metoclopramide and domperidone the dopamine antagonist exaggerate TSH response by altering the inhibitory effect of dopamine on TSH secretion. Certain conditions like thyroid hormone-secreting tumors, adrenal insufficiency, renal failure, hyperprolactinemia, and systemic and psychiatric illness also cause elevation.

    Antithyroid Antibodies (ATG) Test - People with subclinical hypothyroidism show elevated ATG levels (anti-thyroid antibodies), whose TSH serum level is between 10mIU/L.

    Free Thyroxine (FT4) Test: A blood test to measure the amounts of free thyroxine (FT4), the active form of thyroid hormone, may be performed in some instances. A low FT4 level in conjunction with a slightly raised TSH level can help to confirm the diagnosis of subclinical hypothyroidism.

    Thyroid Scan  - It produces an image of the thyroid gland, which helps to determine its size, shape, and position.

    Iodine Scan - It measure the thyroid function, by determining the quantity of iodine taken up by the thyroid gland. Presently there are no consequences that exist to the clinical importance of the adverse effects of subclinical hypothyroidism, but as it progresses it can bring about problems related to health. 

    Subclinical Hypothyroidism Treatment

    The treatment of Subclinical Hypothyroidism is relatively easy and is recommended, though being the mild form in order to avoid the adverse consequences. 

    Subclinical Hypothyroidism is the condition of underperformance of the thyroid gland, so replacement of the hormones that the thyroid is not producing in the form of orally ingested thyroid supplements can be done.This can be done on a daily basis and it has to be continued for life. 

    The other treatment is the hormone replacement supplement called levothyroxine. The treatment is innocuous and nonallergenic in nature. Like any medication, there is the possibility that the recommended treatment may interact with other medications and food supplements, so one needs to follow the instructions of the physician.

    Though subclinical hypothyroidism is not life-threatening, but it will make you feel 'out of whack'. So when it comes to the health condition, a single ignorance can be a scourge for you in later stages.

    Subclinical Hypothyroidism Diet

    While there is no special diet for subclinical hypothyroidism, eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet will help with general thyroid function. Here are some dietary suggestions for people who have subclinical hypothyroidism:

    • Adequate Iodine Intake
    • Selenium-Rich Foods
    • Whole Grains
    • Fruits and Vegetables
    • Healthy Fats
    • Limit Processed Foods
    • Manage Soy Intake
    • Hydration
    • Lean Protein
    • Low Glycemic Index Carbs
    • Dairy Alternatives
    • Avoid Excessive Caffeine
    • Go Easy on Raw Cruciferous Vegetables

    Dietary changes alone may not treat subclinical hypothyroidism, and medical advice should always be sought for proper management and monitoring of the condition.

    A Note From HealthcareOnTime

    According to research, subclinical hypothyroidism can proceed to full-blown hypothyroidism over time, affecting numerous elements of health such as cardiovascular health, fertility, and cognitive function. However, not all instances progress, and some people may be asymptomatic for the rest of their lives.

    Treatment recommendations for subclinical hypothyroidism should be carefully addressed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the patient's particular health profile, age, and potential advantages and hazards of intervention. Others may benefit from thyroid hormone replacement medication to return TSH levels to normal ranges.

    Early detection and treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism are critical for thyroid function and overall well-being. Individuals will be able to negotiate the intricacies of this condition and optimize their health outcomes if they maintain regular communication and engagement with healthcare practitioners.

    Tagged In: Underactive Thyroid, Subclinical Hypothyroidism Causes, Subclinical Hypothyroidism Symptoms, Subclinical Hypothyroidism Diet, Subclinical Hypothyroidism Treatment, Mild Hypothyroidism


    Ref Links: 

    • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2664572/
    • https://www.healthline.com/health/subclinical-hypothyroidism


    The information provided in this blog about subclinical hypothyroidism is for general educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or replace professional medical guidance. Always consult a qualified healthcare provider for personalized assessment and recommendations regarding your specific health condition.

    FAQ Around Subclinical Hypothyroidism

    Is subclinical hypothyroidism dangerous?

    Subclinical hypothyroidism is generally considered mild, but it can progress to hypothyroidism. Regular monitoring is important to detect any changes.

    Is subclinical hypothyroidism curable permanently?

    Subclinical hypothyroidism can be managed, but permanent cure depends on its cause. Lifestyle changes, medication, and monitoring can help control the condition

    Can a patient of subclinical hypothyroidism be underweight?

    It's uncommon, as subclinical hypothyroidism is associated with mild symptoms. However, individual responses can vary, and weight changes may occur in some cases.

    Does subclinical hypothyroidism need treatment in pregnancy?

    Yes, prompt treatment is crucial to support maternal and fetal health. Proper management can reduce pregnancy-related complications and ensure optimal thyroid function.


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