Bone mineral density in patients with endogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism: Is this thyroid status a risk factor for osteoporosis?

J. Foldes, G. Tarjan, M. Szathmari, F. Varga, I. Krasznai, C. Horvath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

135 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The aim of the present study was to elucidate whether endogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism due to a solitary autonomously functioning thyroid nodule affects bone metabolism and is a risk factor for osteoporosis. Design: In a cross-sectional study measurements of bone mineral density were performed in premenopausal and post-menopausal women. Patients were categorized into non-toxic nodular goitre (n = 32), subclinical hyperthyroid (n = 37) and toxic solitary autonomous thyroid nodule (n = 22) subgroups and the results were compared with those of sex and age-matched control reference population (n = 68). Measurements: Lumbar spine and femoral neck bone mineral densities were measured by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Single-photon absorptiometry was applied to the measurement of bone mineral content in the midshaft of the radius. Results: In the non-toxic nodular goitre group, bone densities for all the scanned sites did not differ from the sex and age-matched reference population. At the L2-4 scanning site a significant decrease in the bone mineral density could be observed only in the toxic nodular goitre group and this decrease was more marked in the postmenopausal (P < 0.001) than in the premenopausal females (P < 0.05). At the femoral neck and midshaft radius the mean densitometric values were slightly, but significantly, lower only in the post-menopausal subclinical hyperthyroid group compared with the reference population (P < 0.01). The bone mineral density of the femoral neck, as well as the bone mineral content of the midshaft radius, was significantly decreased in both the premenopausal and post-menopausal patients with a toxic solitary nodule. Conclusion: This study indicates that the bone mineral density of the lumbar spine, femoral neck and the midshaft of the radius are not significantly decreased in premenopausal patients with endogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism resulting from a solitary autonomously functioning thyroid nodule. Conversely, findings hint at the possibility that long-lasting endogenous subclinical hyperthyroidism may be a contributing factor to the development of osteoporosis in some post-menopausal women, mostly at sites where cortical bone preponderates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-527
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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