Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Subclinical Hypothyroidism
A doctor diagnoses mild, or subclinical,
hypothyroidism through a medical history and physical
exam. If your doctor suspects that you have subclinical
hypothyroidism, you will have lab tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Subclinical hypothyroidism is diagnosed when you have:
Some people with subclinical hypothyroidism may test positive
antibodies. These point to
Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which may cause a gradual
loss of thyroid gland function.
Subclinical hypothyroidism should
be watched closely. About 1 out of 10 people who have mild hypothyroidism will go on to have hypothyroidism within 3 years.footnote 1
Some studies have shown that older adults with subclinical
hypothyroidism may be more likely to have
heart failure. But more research is needed.
Research does not provide clear evidence to support treatment of
every person who has subclinical hypothyroidism. And many doctors disagree whether
it should be treated. When making the decision to treat subclinical
hypothyroidism, you and your doctor will talk about the benefits
of treatment (reduced symptoms) compared to the cost of medicine and monitoring
symptoms. Some studies have shown that treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism
cholesterol levels. But more research is
Hueston WJ (2011). Hypothyroidism. In ET Bope et al., eds., Conn's Current Therapy 2011, pp.
678–680. Philadelphia: Saunders.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerMatthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.