Hypothyroidism and Diabetes
Link Between Hypothyroidism and DiabetesSome studies show that people with diabetes are at higher risk of having hypothyroidism. In addition, thyroid diseases are more common among females and several studies have shown that around 30% of females with type 1 diabetes also have a thyroid disease. Some reports also indicate that there's a higher prevalence of hypothyroidism in type 2 diabetic patients.
How Hypothyroidism Can Lead to DiabetesWhen a person has hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland is not able to produce enough hormones to stimulate their metabolism. Hence, the person's body functions slow down.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and used to activate the absorption of blood sugar and to use it as a source of energy. During hypothyroidism the production of insulin is reduced as the pancreas works slower. Once there is not enough insulin and the pancreas fails to turn blood sugar into energy, it can lead to diabetes.
Thyroid Dysfunction Affects People With DiabetesChanges in the metabolism of carbohydrates are observed in hypothyroidism but clinical evidences of the abnormalities are rarely visible. Hypoglycemia is rare in some isolated thyroid hormone deficiencies. In some cases, a hypothyroid patient can have an increased chance of having hypopituitarism.
Several studies show that hypothyroidism can also pave the way for an array of plasma lipid metabolism abnormalities such as the concentration of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high level of triglyceride. Subclinical hypothyroidism is also believed to have the potential to aggravate dyslipidemia which is commonly found among type 2 diabetes patients. It can increase an individual's chance of having cardiovascular diseases as well.
Testing People With Diabetes for HypothyroidismSince there's a link between thyroid disease and diabetes, health experts and doctors recommend TSH assay screening for people with diabetes. The presence of anti-TPO antibodies among type 1 diabetics needs an annual TSH screening while the TSH assay must be done every 23 years. Among type 2 diabetics, a TSH assay must be done at the diagnosis of diabetes and must be repeated every 5 years at least.
Hypothyroidism TreatmentPatients with hypothyroidism have several options in managing the disorder. The Frank hypothyroidism is treated with Thyroid Hormone Therapy where L-thyroxine is the commonly used hormone replacement. On the other hand, treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism is different. There are some things that must be considered before getting treatment such as:
- Check if the person has an increased level of serum LDL cholesterol exacerbated by hypothyroidism.
- Check if the person has detectable serum anti-TPO antibodies.
- Check if the person is symptomatic.