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Overweight--a common problem among women treated for hyperthyroidism.
  1. S. Jansson,
  2. G. Berg,
  3. G. Lindstedt,
  4. A. Michanek,
  5. E. Nyström
  1. Department of Surgery, Sahlgrenska Hospital, University of Göteborg, Sweden.


    We sent out a questionnaire to 112 women treated for diffuse toxic goitre 2-5 years earlier to evaluate the prevalence of problems with overweight after the disease. Of 87 responders, about 50% (irrespective of surgical or radioiodine treatment) reported weight problems, and we randomly selected 40 of these women (20 with and 20 without reported weight problems) for a clinical follow-up (32 appearing). At the follow-up examination (mean 4 years after treatment for hyperthyroidism), 27 women had a higher weight than their estimated premorbid weight. The weight gain correlated with the estimated premorbid body mass index (BMI; P < 0.005), indicating that excess weight gainers may have had a premorbid problem now exaggerated in the post-hyperthyroid period. However, many women with a BMI within the limits stated to be ideal (21-25 kg/m2) also showed dramatic increases in weight. In contrast, the average middle-aged woman in our region did not appear to have gained in weight during a corresponding time period as judged from a longitudinal population study. Women with reported weight problems (mean weight increase 15.6%, n = 16) did not differ from women without (mean weight increase 6.7%, n = 16) as regards pretreatment hormone levels, method of treatment, (change of) smoking habits or post-treatment levothyroxine administration, or in serum concentrations of thyroid hormones, thyrotrophin, cortisol, procollagen-III-peptide, cholesterol, HDL cholesterol or triglycerides. Women with hyperthyroidism should be informed about the risk of gaining weight after therapy and given early support as to dietary and lifestyle change.

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