Low Thyroid Hormone Raises Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
People with prediabetes and low thyroid function were more than twice as likely to progress to full-blown type 2 diabetes compared to those with normal thyroid-hormone levels in a new study1 published September 30 in the journal BMC Medicine.
For the study, researchers from the Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands followed 8,492 adults, ages 54 to 74, for nearly eight years. At the start, 1,338 had prediabetes and 7,114 had normal blood sugar levels. After 7.9 years, 798 had developed type 2 diabetes. Overall, low thyroid function—even in the low-normal range—increased risk for diabetes by 13%. But among those with prediabetes, the risk for progressing to type 2 diabetes ranged from 15% for those with normal thyroid function to 35% for those with signs of low function. Even “low normal” thyroid functioning increased risk.
It’s the first large study to track low and low-normal thyroid function and diabetes risk. “There are no other studies addressing the relation between diabetes and thyroid function in the euthyroid range or in individuals with prediabetes,” the researchers note. Lead study author Layal Chaker, MD2 a Research and Curriculum Fellow at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a research fellow in the Department of Endocrinology and Epidemiology at the Erasmus Medical Center told EndocrineWeb that its too soon to recommend thyroid screening tests for people with prediabetes. And while treating low thyroid can help people with type 2 control their blood sugar, it’s not known whether treatment could prevent or delay it. “Our findi Continue reading