The Diabetes-Hypothyroidism Connection

Comments: 0 | May 31st, 2017


Research shows that the number of Americans with diabetes will double in the next 25 years from 23.7 million in 2009 to 44.1 million in 2034. During the same time period, annual spending related to diabetes is expected to increase from $113 billion to $336 billion (in constant 2007 USD). (1) The average medical expenditures among people with diagnosed diabetes in 2007 were 2.3 times higher than medical expenditures would be in the absence of diabetes.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2012 was $245 billion. Yes, the American diet is loaded with sugar and simple carbohydrates and yes, millions of Americans are overweight. There has to be more to it and as usual the more questions we continue to ask, the more answers we will find.

Normal body functioning requires a certain level of sugar or glucose, which your body regulates with hormones. The pancreas releases one of these hormones called insulin, which rises when blood sugar falls. When insulin levels fall, blood sugar rises. Hypoglycemia means low blood sugar or glucose. Common factors leading to hypoglycemia are large amounts of refined carbohydrates in the diet, allergies and hypothyroidism. During his research, Dr. Broda Barnes found that the incidence of hypoglycemia is much lower when patients are treated with thyroid. This would suggest that hypoglycemia correlates with hypothyroidism. In addition, the thyroid has a profound effect on the liver, which can also lower blood glucose levels.

Type 2 Diabetes and Hypothyroidism
A person with hypothyroidism may be at risk for metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance, both of which could lead to type 2 diabetes. Low thyroid function is a risk factor for diabetes, especially in individuals with prediabetes. (2) Type 2 diabetes patients are more likely to have subclinical hypothyroidism when compared with the healthy population and subclinical hypothyroidism may be associated with increased diabetic complications. It is necessary to screen thyroid function in patients with type 2 diabetes.(3)

Type 1 Diabetes and Autoimmune Thyroiditis
Thyroid problems occur more often in people with diabetes. The reasoning is that when the antibodies attack the thyroid gland, you may have higher risk of your immune system attacking another endocrine gland. In diabetes, antibodies attack the islet cells of the pancreas, decreasing the production of insulin. Research correlates autoimmune thyroiditis to type 1 diabetes. Study results demonstrated the high prevalence of autoimmune thyroiditis and thyroid dysfunction in patients with type 1 diabetes, and suggests regular thyroid function and antibody testing in these patients. (4) Diabetes patients should receive a regular thyroid checkup.

Dr. Hotze explains the truth about type 2 diabetes:

Did you know that treating hypothyroidism, along with a healthy eating and exercise program, can help you reverse type 2 diabetes? If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s time to find out if you also have hypothyroidism.  Click here to take our symptom checker health quiz to find out if you have symptoms of hypothyroidism.

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1. Projecting the Future Diabetes Population Size and Related Costs for the U.S.
2. Thyroid Function and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Population-Based Prospective Cohort Study
3. Subclinical Hypothyroidism and Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
4. Thyroid Disorders in Children and Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus in Isfahan, Iran

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