Can Thyroid Disease Cause Diabetes

Answering the question can thyroid disease cause diabetes involves researching the several different kinds of thyroid diseases and how each disorder affects blood glucose levels. While developing thyroid disease does not automatically sentence an individual to a lifetime of insulin medication or injections, it does meant that the possibility of being diagnosed with diabetes in the future is higher than in those who do not have some type of thyroid disease.

About Thyroid Disease

Facts about thyroid disorders include:

  • Can thyroid disease cause diabetes in older people? Risk of developing a thyroid disorder increases with age, as does diabetes.
  • Hypothyroidism is a low-functioning thyroid; hyperthyroidism, also called Grave’s disease, is an overactive thyroid.
  • Hypothyroidism is the more common of the two, especially in women over 50.
  • Thyroid disease is an autoimmune disease.
  • Nearly four million people suffer from hypothyroidism in the U.S. Treatment consists of TRT, or thyroxine replacement therapy.
  • Around 30 percent of women who have type 1 diabetes also have some type of thyroid disorder.
  • Diabetic women who are postpartum are nearly three times more likely to develop thyroiditis than non-diabetic women.
  • Hypothyroidism frequently afflicts those with type 2 diabetes.

Thyroid disease is diagnosed with a blood test measuring the amount of triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) circulating in the body. As hormones primarily responsible for regulating metabolic rate, having too much or too little of these hormones will cause correlating symptoms.

For example, hyperthyroidism will make a person feel hungry all the time as well as fatigued, nervous, sweaty and experience uncomfortable incidences of rapid heartbeat and hair loss. Alternatively, hypothyroidism causes extreme tiredness, paleness, weight gain, water retention, depression, voice hoarseness and aching muscles. Both conditions affect control of blood glucose and contribute to insulin resistance and other issues related to diabetes.

Watch this video and know about the causes, symptoms and treatment for hypothyroidism

Exactly How Can Thyroid Disease Cause Diabetes?

Disturbing the metabolic process responsible for breaking down fat and carbohydrates may result in the creation of insulin resistance, which directly provokes the emergence of diabetes. Fat or lipid metabolism needs sufficient amounts of insulin in order to be properly regulated. When someone suffers from hypothyroidism, metabolism rates are greatly reduced, allowing fats to remain in the blood and insulin to remain unused. As a result, excess lipids are stored as unhealthy triglycerides promoting weight gain, causing disregulated glucose levels and a probably development of type 2 diabetes.

When Can Thyroid Disease Cause Diabetes?

When Can Thyroid Disease Cause Diabetes

Hyperthyroidism is less likely to cause diabetes because it does not promote weight gain and fat accumulation, which are precursor conditions to developing diabetes. With hyperthyroidism, the thyroid secretes too much hormone, unlike hypothyroidism, which requires supplemental thyroxine for normal functioning to occur. Someone with diabetes who is further diagnosed with hyperthyroidism may suffer severe problems trying to control blood sugar levels due to excess thyroid hormone in the blood.

With a metabolism rate running twice as fast, the liver is forced to release large amounts of glucose into the blood in order to maintain sufficient energy for the body to continue operating. Unfortunately, this inevitably results in a case of hyperglycemia and the traditional symptoms of diabetes.

Treating Diabetes and Thyroid Disease

The most frequently used treatment for thyroid disease includes:

  • Medication to regulate hormone levels and inhibit autoimmune reaction
  • Radioactive iodine specifically for hyperthyroidism
  • Surgery utilized in cases of severe hypo- or hyperthyroidism that do not respond to other treatments
  • HRT hormone replacement therapy, specifically for hypothyroidism

Controlling thyroid disease is vital to reducing the risk of developing diabetes or diminishing the severity of an existing condition of diabetes. As far as answering can thyroid disease cause diabetes, the response by physicians is that it can, if not appropriately and expeditiously treated.


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