Conceptualization and Measurement of Physiologic Health for Adults

Vol. 9, Thyroid Disease

by Robert H. Brook, Kathleen N. Lohr, George A. Goldberg

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Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are aberrations in the body's metabolism caused by too few or too many (respectively) hormones secreted by the thyroid gland. Data on their prevalence and adverse impacts are used in the Health Insurance Study (HIS) to investigate the effects of different levels of insurance on health status and quality of care because of their prevalence, potentially serious consequences, and responsiveness to care. This volume reviews pertinent medical literature, details HIS disease definitions, describes HIS methods for measuring their presence and impact on people's lives, presents enrollment data from the six HIS sites, and outlines quality-of-care criteria. Illustrative findings include: Based on blood test and medical history data, 1.9 percent of the adult HIS sample had thyroid dysfunction (mainly hypothyroidism, and mainly among women). Apart from low-level worry (reported by 22 percent of those afflicted who were aware of their condition), little disease impact was noted.

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