Long-term weight regulation in treated hyperthyroid and hypothyroid subjects

Byron J. Hoogwerf, Frank Q. Nuttall

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103 Scopus citations


Body weight regulation after treatment was studied in 87 hyperthyroid and 18 hypothyroid subjects. Mean body weight was 83.9 percent of the premorbid weight at the time of initial treatment for hyperthyroidism and 102.5 percent at 96 months following treatment. Mean (± SD) post-treatment weight difference from baseline was 3.4 ± 18.6 pounds at 96 months (n = 44). Early weight gain was greatest in subjects in whom thyroxine values normalized quickly. Hyperthyroid subjects from whom a body mass index could be calculated (n = 45) were divided into two groups. The obese group had a greater mean weight loss (35.2 ± 15.0 pounds versus 21.2 ± 9.9 pounds, p < 0.001) and a lower weight (percent of baseline weight) at the time of treatment for hyperthyroidism (81.6 ± 7.7 percent versus 86.0 ± 5.1 percent, p < 0.05). Subjects with thyroxine levels of 20 μg/dl or more had higher premorbid body weights and greater weight loss from baseline than subjects with thyroxine values below 20 μg/dl. Hypothyroid subjects showed a small decline in mean body weight over the first six months of treatment but returned to pretreatment weight by 24 months. In the absence of significant metabolic derangement, body weight is regulated within narrow limits over many years. Effective treatment of hyperthyroidism is accompanied by weight gain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)963-970
Number of pages8
JournalThe American Journal of Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1984

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
From the Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota. This work was supported in part by Veterans Administration Research Funds and National Institutes of Health Grant NIAMDD-NRSA FM5F32 AM0588602. Dr. Hoogwerf is a recipient of a Special Emphasis Research Career Award. Dr. Nuttall is a recipient of a Medical Investigatorship Award from the Veterans Administration. Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Frank Q. Nuttall, Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417. Manuscript accepted December 13, 1983.


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