(HealthDay News) – Both the prevalence and the risk of thyroid diseases are significantly higher among patients with vitiligo compared to those without the condition.

Charlotte Vrijman, MD, from the University of Amsterdam, and colleagues conducted a systematic literature review and meta-analysis to examine the prevalence of thyroid diseases among patients with vitiligo. Forty-eight studies published between 1968–2011 were included, of which 12% were of good methodological quality, 50% fair quality, and 38% poor quality.

The researchers found that the mean prevalence of thyroid disease, autoimmune thyroid disease, and presence of thyroid specific autoantibodies was 15.1, 14.3, and 20.8%, respectively, among patients with vitiligo. The relative risks were statistically significant and were 1.9, 2.5 and 5.2, respectively.

“This systematic review shows evidence of an increased prevalence and an increased risk of (autoimmune) thyroid diseases in vitiligo patients compared to non-vitiligo patients. This risk seems to increase with age,” the authors write. “Clinicians should be aware of the increased risk of thyroid disease in vitiligo patients and should be attentive on symptoms of thyroid disease.”

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