It has been documented that patients with RA experience an increased occurrence of thyroid disorders of both the autoimmune and non-autoimmune types. Did you know that joint pain can be a symptom of thyroid disease?
Common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism (low thyroid) include dry skin, thinning hair, brittle nails, fatigue (feeling tired, sluggish, or weak), memory problems, depression, inability to tolerate cold, yellowish skin, and constipation. Less common symptoms may include modest weight gain, muscle aches and cramps, hoarseness, facial puffiness, and swelling in the limbs.
The worldwide prevalence of thyroid disease in patients with RA varies considerably, ranging from 0.5% in Morocco to 27% in Slovakia, according to a 2012 review of 17 published studies. The prevalence of thyroid disease in RA patients in North America ranges from 2.1% to 9.8%. Lack of universal agreement as to the ‘normal’ upper limit for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels in the blood may partially explain some of this variability as published upper limits range from 2.5 to 5.0 IU/mL.