Diabetes and Thyroid Problem: Is There a Link Between These Two

Diabetes and thyroid diseases are both what are referred to in the medical community as endocrine or hormone problems. Thyroid problems can make controlling blood glucose levels and as a result diabetes a lot more difficult.

Your thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in your lower neck just below the surface of your skin. The thyroid is responsible for regulating your body’s metabolism, which is the process of using and storing energy. To do this, the thyroid releases a chemical called thyroid hormone. If too much thyroid hormone is released, it causes the metabolism to speed up (hyperthyroidism). If it does not produce sufficient amounts, your body functions begin to slow down considerably (hypothyroidism). Both of these two problems can directly affect your blood sugar levels and your diabetes. In order to be vigilant for both of these it is important for a diabetic to know the signs of both thyroid problems.

If a person is experiencing hyperthyroidism the quickening metabolism causes the medicines to go through the body quicker raising blood glucose levels as the normal dosage you use will be gone faster. The symptoms of both hyperthyroidism and low blood sugar are so similar in nature that you could actually take extra food believing the sweating and tremors of the hyperthyroidism is low blood sugar which could cause your blood sugars to raise dangerously. A glucose meter test will help you avoid this problem.

Hypothyroidism causes your body metabolism to slow and your blood glucose levels to drop. This is due to the diabetes medicine remaining longer in your body. With hypothyroidism it may be necessary to reduce your diabetes medicine doses.

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms may include: pounding heart, quickened pulse, severe sweating, weight loss, hair loss, shortness of breath when exercising, diarrhea, muscle weakness or tremors, concentration problems, change in menstrual periods, thick skin on knees, elbows and shins.

Hypothyroidism symptoms could include: fatigue, sluggishness, depression, hair loss, husky voice, feeling cold when others hot, constipation, unexplained weight gain, low blood pressure and slow pulse.

Studies have proved that the frequency of hypothyroidism seems to increase with people who have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes especially for women who are 40 years of age or older. Diabetics with hypothyroidism often have a difficult time regulating and controlling their diabetes and blood sugar levels. Fatigue from this will reduce to partake in physical activity which can lead to weight gain and a slower metabolism. Thyroid replacement medications can correct thyroid levels and return them to normal.

Dysfunctional thyroids can complicate diabetes management and diagnosis of diabetes complications. 6.6 % of the population, in general, has thyroid dysfunction which compares to diabetes in that 10.8 and 14.4% have diabetes. Thyroid disease is more prevalent in women with type 1 diabetes who are at greater risk of having diabetes. Also postpartum thyroiditis is three times more likely in women with diabetes than non-diabetics. Postpartum transient thyroid dysfunction is fairly common. When glucose control fluctuates thyroid function should be carefully monitored. 30% of women do not recover and require thyroxine replacement. So with thyroid dysfunction being common with diabetic patients and producing metabolic disturbances regular screening of diabetic patients will allow for early treatment. Type 1 people should be screened annually, type and type 2 diabetics at least every 5 years.

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