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Association between chronic widespread musculoskeletal complaints & thyroid autoimmunity. Results from a community survey

  [ 29 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Aarflot T, Bruusgaard D • • June 5, 1996

OBJECTIVE: To test a hypothesis derived from observations in general
practice that thyroid antibodies were associated with chronic
widespread musculoskeletal complaints.
Cross-sectional study of 40-42 year old men and women based on
a self-administered questionnaire and on results of blood
SETTING: Sarpsborg municipality, Norway.
737 men and 771 women who attended the National Health
Screening Service's mobile unit in 1989 and answered the
detectable microsomal thyroid antibodies in persons with and
without chronic widespread musculoskeletal complaints.
RESULTS: The prevalence of thyroid microsomal antibodies was
significantly higher in persons with than without chronic
widespread musculoskeletal complaints (16.0% versus 7.3%, p <
0.01). The increase was restricted to women (20.4% versus
11.6%, p = 0.02). Thyroid function tests did not differ
significantly between the two groups.
association between chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain
complaints and thyroid antibodies in women may reflect a
subgroup of patients in which thyroid autoimmunity, rather
than thyroid function, is important. A possible relationship
to fibromyalgia is discussed as well as a hypothetical role
for thyrotropin releasing hormone.

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