Thyroid disease and Diabetes

By jsd2005 Latest Reply 2012-01-29 08:47:50 -0600
Started 2009-03-16 02:06:59 -0500

The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped organ, located just beneath the Adam's apple. Shaped like a butterfly, the organ plays a vital role in individual's health and affects every organ tissue and cell in the body. It makes hormones that regulate metabolism. When the thyrois is not working properly if can affect your body weight, energy level, muscle strength, skin, memory, heart rate, menstrual cycle and cholesterol levels. Thyroid disorders are classified as underactive or hypothyroidism or over-active, heperthroidism, Thyroid disorders are much more common in women then men.

Thyroid disorders are generally diagnosed following a simple blood test, called a TSH for Thyroid stimulating hormone and is most often treated with medication, surgery or radioactive iodine.

Hypothyroidism is the most common disorder of the thyroid, where the thyroid makes to little of the thyroid hormone. It is most often caused by Hashimoto's disease, where the bodies immune system see the thyroid as an invader and attacks the thyroid, making it ill and under active or non-functioning. Hyperthyroidism ir underactuve thyroid us generally caused by goiter or Grave's Disease and again usually affects women more than men.

Thyroid disorders and diabetes are involve a dysfunction in the endocrine system. Studies have demonstrated that both of these diorders tend to co-occur in patients. In fact 1/3 of the general population of people with type 1 diabetes tend to have throid disease also. This is because as an auto immune disorder, once present in someone usually produces another type of auto immune disorder in the same individual. Thyroid disorders are also more commonly found in type 2 diabetics also as we see both of these illnesses occur in people as they age.

Thyroid disorders can have a major impact on diabetic management. Hypothyroidism can decrease insulin requirements in people with type 1 diabetes. Underlying thyroid disorders often go undiagnosed as the signs and symptoms are common and familiar to diabetes. This causes the problem often to go undiagnosed and untreated, which only worsens or causes more problems for the individual. So, if you are having significant problems with control of your diabetes, talk with your Dr. about thyroid disease and the ADA recommend TSH testing for all diabetics.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Maybe you should be tested. Make an appointment if necessary and talk with your Dr. about this issue.

3 replies

rbergman 2009-03-17 23:53:17 -0500 Report

Actually, our daughter's first autoimmune problem was her Thyroid. She began gaining weight rapidly and when tested in April of 2008 they found no issues and assumed she was going through a growth spurt. In July 2008 she turned 7yrs old, by the end of August she had gained 56lbs. She was tested again August 30th and it was found that her Thyroid had stopped functioning. Her second autoimmune came in November 2008 but was not able to be confirmed Diabetes T2 leading to T1 or Double Diabetes until February 2009. Later that same month her third autoimmune disease had developed, diagnosed with Addison's Disease. She returns to the doctor March 20th for further testing to make sure all the medicines she is on for these 3 diseases are working properly and to determine whether other autoimmune failure problems have started or are now present.
She has Hypothyroidism but it is NOT Hashimoto's Disease and not all Hypothyroid patients present with this form of the disease. She takes a little purple pill (Synthroid) that took over the Thyroid's job and she will take a pill a day for the rest of her life. The Thyroid will usually dwindle away on it's own once this pill is introduced to the body, the brain doesn't care where it gets the hormones from as long as it gets them. Once she had been on the Synthroid for about a month there was considerable shrinkage in the Thyroid itself and it eventually dissolved away on it's own. In some cases this does not occur and the Thyroid can then be destroyed by laser or radiation. Because her Thyroid was destroyed in just a few months time, she did not develop the goiter but her Thyroid was enlarged and further testing revealed that her pituitary gland that sends TSH to the Thyroid was also inflamed and causing headaches because it was working overtime trying to stimulate her Thyroid by sending too much TSH. A normal Thyroid level is under 4.0. When diagnosed her's was over 84.
This type of Autoimmune failure is classed as Cluster Effect Autoimmune because though most times only 1 organ is affected in her case she has several that were/are attacked in a short time frame.
A complete chem panel blood test will determine whether certain organs, such as the Thyroid, are functioning properly, plus test glucose, cholesterol, etc.

Other autoimmune diseases that present themselves with T1 patients is Ciliac Disease. When this occurs the patient must maintain a gluten free diet.

If you are diabetic and suffer from allergies other than seasonal allergies, it is suggested to have an allergy test done to determine what you are allergic to, especially if it is a food allergy, foods that are considered healthy for diabetics can also cause a food allergy.


lipsie 2009-03-16 04:14:23 -0500 Report

You have a very good point. I also have hyopthyroid myseld and talk medicine for it. Sheila