Monday, June 06, 2016

Study links low thyroid function to greater odds of type 2 diabetes

Public Release: 2-Apr-2016
Study links low thyroid function to greater odds of type 2 diabetes
The Endocrine Society

Having too little thyroid hormone in the blood--even in the low-normal range--raises the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, especially in people with prediabetes, a new study in nearly 8,500 people finds. The study results will be presented Sunday at the Endocrine Society's 98th annual meeting in Boston.

Prediabetes is a mild elevation in blood glucose, or sugar, level that usually occurs before diabetes develops. One of every 10 people with prediabetes will develop Type 2 diabetes every year, according to the Hormone Health Network.

In the new study, the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes over long-term follow-up increased by 13 percent for people with low thyroid function--often called underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism--or even those with low-normal thyroid function. However, the diabetes risk was up to 40 percent higher for individuals with reduced thyroid function if they already had prediabetes, the investigators reported.


Currently, experts recommend thyroid screening of people with Type 1 diabetes, because they have a greatly increased risk of thyroid disease. Both Type 2 diabetes and hypothyroidism occur more often in older adults. However, Chaker said the association of thyroid function with Type 2 diabetes and prediabetes remains unclear.

Thyroid hormones are crucial for the regulation of metabolism, which is how the body converts food into energy or stores it. Hypothyroidism slows metabolism and can lead to weight gain. According to Chaker, past research has found a link between hypothyroidism and reduced sensitivity to the hormone insulin, another risk factor for Type 2 diabetes.


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