The thyroid gland is located in the neck and controls how quickly the body uses energy and produces proteins; it also controls how sensitive the body is to various hormones. A mildly underactive thyroid, a condition also known as subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH) affects around one in six people over the age of 65 and has been linked to various health problems, such as heart attacks and strokes, in later life. At this point in time doctors are not sure how to treat these patients because extensive research has never been done.
The project has the potential to significantly improve the health and well-being of older people with subclinical hypothyroidism, resolving uncertainties about how best to manage this common condition.
TRUST researchers will follow 3,000 older subjects over a five year period in an attempt to better understand how to treat people who suffer from subclinical hypothyroidism. Half of the subjects will be treated with a hormone replacement drug, thyroxine, while the other half will be given a placebo; both groups will then be monitored to evaluate how they respond to the treatments.