New research suggests middle-aged and older people with higher free thyroxine (FT4) levels may be more likely to develop atherosclerosis.
In a prospective study, researchers examined data relating to 9,231 people, with an average age of 64.7 years, from the Rotterdam Study , looking at the association between thyroid function and subclinical atherosclerosis, atherosclerotic events and atherosclerotic mortality.
They found increased FT4 levels were associated with elevated risk of atherosclerotic morbidity and mortality, independent of cardiovascular risk factors. Additionally, higher FT4 levels were associated with greater risk of subclinical atherosclerosis.
“Our large population-based cohort study is the first to investigate the relationship between thyroid function and subclinical and clinical manifestations of atherosclerosis. These findings suggest that thyroid hormone measurement can help identify individuals at risk for atherosclerosis and may have future implications for the prevention of atherosclerotic morbidity and mortality,” said lead study author, Arjola Bano.
The authors said the results suggest that the link between thyroid function and atherosclerosis is mediated through yet unexplored cardiovascular risk factors or alternative pathways.
The findings were presented at ENDO 2017 , the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society this week.