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Diabetes

Thyroid and diabetes

07/09/2008

Question:

I recently had a number of blood tests,one indicating a thyroid stimulating reading of 0.261, is there any connection between having diabetes and thyroid problems?If so, what is the best route to follow.

Answer:

Both diabetes and thyroid problems are common in the population.  The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes.  The link between diabetes and thyroid disease is that both type 1 diabetes and certain forms of underactive thyroid disease can be autoimmune diseases that are found in the same person, so in people with type 1 diabetes we have particularly frequent surveillance to see if they also develop an underactive thyroid.  What makes it confusing though is that type 2 diabetes is 10 times more common than type 1 diabetes and there is so much thyroid disease that many people have thyroid disease without having diabetes.  That means there are probably many more people in the world who by chance have both type 2 diabetes and underactive thyroid for unrelated reasons than there are that have type 1 diabetes and underactive thyroid due to a common mechanism.

A good primary care doctor will know how to screen for both and will be able to get you started with both.  If things are not working out well, you could also consider seeing an endocrinologist, a subspecialty that focuses on hormone problems which include both diabetes and thyroid disease.

For more information:

Go to the Diabetes health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Robert M Cohen, MD Robert M Cohen, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati