We investigated whether there was a significant increase in thyroid autoimmunity, and disorders in patients
with rheumatic diseases (RDs). We enrolled 201 patients with RDs (41 with ankylosing spondylitis, 15 with systemic
lupus erythematosus, 80 with rheumatoid arthritis [RA], 65 with familial Mediterranean fever), and 122 healthy controls.
Serum levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free triiodothyronine (fT3), free thyroxine (fT4), C-reactive protein,
and thyroid autoantibodies (anti-thyroglobulin and anti-thyroid peroxidase) were measured in all participants. There were
no significant differences between the ages of the patients and controls. The mean TSH values of the patients with RDs
and the controls were 3.1±2.68mIU/L and 1.9±0.83mIU/L, respectively (P = 0.004). The mean fT4 value of the patients
with RDs was 1.43±0.67ng/dL whereas that of the controls was 1.58±0.68ng/dL (P <0.001). Subclinical hypothyroidism
was detected in 24 patients with RDs. Thyroid antibodies were detected in 16 of 201 (8%) patients with RDs. Three of
these patients had subclinical hypothyroidism, while the others were euthyroid. Thyroid autoantibodies were significantly
higher in patients with RDs (P <0.001). Additionally, thyroid disorders were observed more frequently in patients with
RDs than in the healthy controls. Based on our findings, we recommend that thyroid function tests should better be
included in the clinical evaluation of patients with RDs.
Keywords: Free triiodothyronine, rheumatic diseases, thyroid autoimmunity, thyroid disorders, thyroid function tests, thyroid
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