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

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By Aarflot T, Bruusgaard D • www.ProHealth.com • June 5, 1996


OBJECTIVE: To test a hypothesis derived from observations in general
practice that thyroid antibodies were associated with chronic
widespread musculoskeletal complaints.
DESIGN:
Cross-sectional study of 40-42 year old men and women based on
a self-administered questionnaire and on results of blood
tests.
SETTING: Sarpsborg municipality, Norway.
PARTICIPANTS:
737 men and 771 women who attended the National Health
Screening Service's mobile unit in 1989 and answered the
questionnaire.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Prevalence of
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.
CONCLUSION: The
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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