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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 17  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 118-122

Hypothyroidism and obesity: Is there a bidirectional link? What is the impact on our clinical practice?

1 Department of Endocrinology, Care Hospital and Excell Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India
2 Department of Endocrinology, Rainbow Children's Hospital, Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Geeta Aurangabadkar
Excell Hospital, Narayanguda, Hyderabad - 500 029, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/trp.trp_59_20

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It is well established that hypothyroidism causes weight gain, but novel emerging data suggest that obesity may actually lead to hypothyroidism. The interplay between leptin, thyroid hormones (THs), and thyroid autoimmunity in obese patients needs special attention. Clinicians need to be more cautious while interpreting elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone levels in obese individuals to avoid inappropriate labeling of hypothyroidism and unjustified use of TH therapy. It would seem reasonable to measure circulating plasma levels of THs and thyroid autoantibodies in these individuals. Stimulation of brown adipose tissue in adults, specifically through TH-mediated pathways, may seem a promising therapeutic target for obesity; however, the evidence has been inconclusive regarding effectiveness of TH therapy in treating obesity. Moreover, the effect of weight loss on thyroid function has been variable as per different studies. We aim to review the available evidence regarding the possible bidirectional link between hypothyroidism and obesity, explore responsible underlying mechanisms, and discuss the impact of this knowledge on our clinical practice.

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