Thyroid Disorders and Diabetes
Thyroid disorders are very common in the general U.S. population, affecting up to 27 million Americans, although half that number remains undiagnosed. It is second only to diabetes as the most common condition to affect the endocrine system — a group of glands that secrete hormones that help regulate growth, reproduction, and nutrient use by cells. As a result, it is common for an individual to be affected by both thyroid disease and diabetes.
Since the thyroid gland plays a central role in the regulation of metabolism, abnormal thyroid function can have a major impact on the control of diabetes. In addition, untreated thyroid disorder can increase the risk of certain diabetic complications and can aggravate many diabetes symptoms. Luckily, abnormal thyroid function can easily be diagnosed by simple blood tests, and effective treatment is available. For all of these reasons, periodic screening for thyroid disorder should be considered in all people with diabetes.
What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, just below the Adam’s apple and above the collarbone. It produces two hormones, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which enter the bloodstream and affect the metabolism of the heart, liver, muscles, and other organs. The thyroid gland operates as part of a feedback mechanism involving the hypothalamus, an area of the brain, and the pituitary gland, which is located within the brain.
First, the hypothalamus sends a signal to the pituitary through a hormone called TRH (thyrotropin-releasing hormone). When the pituitary gland Continue reading