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Diabetes and thyroid disease

Diabetes and thyroid disorders are both related to a dysfunction within the endocrine system.

There is usually an imbalance of hormones that can negatively impact both the pancreas and the thyroid. In addition, there can be an underlying autoimmune condition that is causing organ impairment.

According to recent CDC research, approximately 34.1 million U.S. adults — more than 1 in 10 —have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and 7.3 million of those adults who met laboratory criteria were unaware or did not report having the disease, (according to CDC 2020 National Diabetes Statistics Report). Conversely, an estimated 12 % of the population will develop a thyroid disorder during their lifetime. One in eight women will develop a thyroid condition during their lifespan. Sadly, upwards of 12 million people are not aware that they have this condition and put themselves at risk for medical conditions such as heart disease, infertility and osteoporosis.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism may include the following:

  • Fatigue

  • Lethargy

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Chronic constipation

  • Unintentional weight gain

  • Intolerance to cold temperatures

  • A slower heart rate and lower blood pressure

  • Cholesterol levels that do not respond to traditional diet and exercise

  • Neck area swelling and/or discomfort

  • Change in menstrual cycles, fertility, bowel habits, skin and hair

  • Unexplained muscle and joint pain

  • Family history of thyroid disease /diabetes

It is very important to make sure that you are routinely screened for diabetes if you have thyroid disease and vice versa. Routine testing helps ensure early detection and appropriate treatment, lowering your risk of complications. If you are found to have either of these endocrine disorders, weight management is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk of developing the second medical condition. Additional medications (thyroid replacement therapy) and routine blood testing will ensure an optimal thyroid functioning.

Monitoring your thyroid and glucose levels lower your risk of diabetes if you already have thyroid dysfunction. Conversely, maintaining optimal glucose levels can reduce your risk of developing thyroid disease in a person with diabetes. Both conditions, independent of each other or as a dual -diagnosis, are life-long disorders that can be medically managed with proper diet/medications/lifestyle changes. In doing so, you will have optimal control over your health and well being and lower your risk of complications.

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