It’s estimated more than 20 million Americans suffer from some kind of issue with their thyroid.
Of those, more than 60 percent of them have no idea they even have an issue with this important gland.
One of the more common thyroid conditions is known as hypothyroidism, which in simple terms is an under-active thyroid. This condition can be quite serious, as it can lead to mental illness, infertility, birth defects, fatigue, and can even take your life in more extreme cases.
While that list seems small, a new study published by researchers at the University of Rotterdam medical center indicated type 2 diabetes could be another subsequent issue those with an under-active thyroid might have to deal with.
Bear in mind, this study has yet to be tested by other researchers, but has been brought to the attention of the medical field based on the strength of the evidence in the research.
Over the course of eight years, Dr. Layal Chaker of Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam followed 8,500 people and made a pretty convincing conclusion regarding the association between hypothyroidism and type 2 diabetes.
The average age of the study participants was 65, and all of the participants were regularly checked for progressive changes in both their blood sugar levels and their overall thyroid function.
“All of the participants had a blood test to measure their blood sugar levels as well as their thyroid function. They were re-evaluated every few years to check for the onset of type 2 diabetes. The participants’ medical records were also reviewed.
After nearly eight years, 1,100 of the participants developed prediabetes — slightly elevated blood sugar levels — and 798 developed full-blown diabetes.
Chaker’s team found that low thyroid function boosted the risk for type 2 diabetes by 13 percent. People who had an under-active thyroid and prediabetes were at even greater risk of progressing to type 2 diabetes — the risk for type 2 diabetes was 40 percent higher for this group.”
Chaker and his colleagues have not been able to definitively say type 2 diabetes is caused by an under-active thyroid; yet, knowing what we do about thyroid function, it’s easy to see a strong correlation.
As Dr. Minisha Sood, Director of Inpatient Diabetes at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said, “There is some evidence to show that low thyroid function can increase insulin resistance…”
Another interesting note is the association between hypothyroidism and type 2 diabetes wasn’t deterred even when the test subjects’ T-levels were optimized.
That means there’s still plenty of testing that needs to be done before we throw the baby out with the bath water and say thyroid hormone treatment is ineffectual.
It also paints a very clear picture about how diet affects health. Even if it were true low thyroid activity contributed to type 2 diabetes, we can conclude eating a diet with a low impact on blood glucose levels can help prevent eventual insulin resistance and the formation of type 2 diabetes.