Increased incidence rate of hypothyroidism after iodine fortification in Denmark: A 20 year prospective population-based study

Mads Petersen, Nils Knudsen, Allan Carlé, Stig Andersen, Torben Jørgensen, Hans Perrild, Lars Ovesen, Lone Banke Rasmussen, Betina Heinsbæk Thuesen, Inge Bülow Pedersen

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OBJECTIVE: To monitor the impact of a cautious iodine fortification (IF) on the incidence of overt hypothyroidism in two subpopulations with different levels of preexisting iodine deficiency (ID). DESIGN: A 20-year (1997 to 2016) prospective population-based study identified all new cases of diagnosed overt biochemical hypothyroidism in two open cohorts: a western cohort with moderate ID (n = 309,434; 1 January 1997) and an eastern cohort with mild ID (n = 224,535; 1 January 1997). A diagnostic algorithm was applied to all thyroid function tests performed within the study areas, and possible new cases were verified individually. Mandatory IF of salt was initiated in mid-2000 (13 ppm). The current study is a part of the DanThyr study. RESULTS: At baseline, standardized incidence rates (SIRs) of hypothyroidism were 32.9 and 47.3/100.000/y in the cohorts with moderate and mild ID, respectively. The SIR of hypothyroidism increased significantly in both cohorts after implementing mandatory IF, with peak values of 150% in 2014 to 2016 for the moderate ID cohort and 130% in 2004 to 2005 for the mild ID cohort. Significant increases in SIR were seen among the young and middle-aged participants of both cohorts, whereas no changes were seen among the elderly participants (≥60 years). The follow-up period for the mildly iodine-deficient cohort was restricted up to and including 2008. CONCLUSION: The cautious initiation of the IF program in Denmark caused a sustained increase in hypothyroidism incidence among subjects residing in areas of moderate and mild ID but only among the young and middle-aged participants.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjc.2018-01993
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)1833–1840
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - May 2019

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