Type 2 Diabetes – Low Thyroid Function in Diabetes


Some studies show people who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are also at risk for hypothyroidism, where the thyroid gland does not make enough hormone. Low thyroid levels, in addition to other signs and symptoms, can cause weight gain, so it is doubly important for people who are classed as being prediabetic or who have Type 2 diabetes, also have normal thyroid hormone levels.

In January and February of 2018, the Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism reported on a study from the Institute of Post-Graduate Medical Education and Research in West Bengal, India. Scientists there found out of one hundred people with Type 2 diabetes…

  • 23 had slightly low levels of thyroid hormone, and
  • 3 had full-blown hypothyroidism.

From these results, the researchers concluded one-quarter of people with Type 2 diabetes have low levels of thyroid hormone.

In December of 2017, the journal Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome reported on a study conducted at the Rajiv Aligarh Muslim University and several other research facilities in India. A total of two hundred and fifty people with Type 2 diabetes were tested for thyroid hormone levels. Twenty-eight percent of these diabetics had at least somewhat low levels.

In October of 2017, the journal Acta Med Indonesia reported much the same results in a different population. Scientists at the Universitas in Indonesia tested the thyroid hormone levels in three hundred and three Type 2 diabetics…

  • a total of 23 participants, more than 7 percent, had full-blown hypothyroidism.
  • a little over half, 56.5 percent, had at least a small degree of low thyroid levels.

Researchers in both the last two studies concluded people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes should have their thyroid levels checked.

Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include…

  • weight gain,
  • cold intolerance,
  • loss of hair,
  • feeling tired and have muscle weakness,
  • have dry skin,
  • suffer from constipation,
  • have a hoarse voice, and
  • a puffy face.

Some may have slightly low thyroid hormone levels without any signs and symptoms. A blood test measures the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which tells the thyroid gland to produce the thyroid hormone. If the TSH is high, it means the thyroid gland is struggling to make enough of the hormone. When TSH testing shows high levels, the doctor may order direct tests of thyroid hormone levels.

Treatment consists of thyroid replacement therapy. Medications available include…

  • levothyroxine sodium (Levothroid, Levoxyl, Synthroid, Tirosint, and Unithroid),
  • liothyronine sodium (Cytomel, Triostat),
  • liotrix (Thyrolar).

Side effects can include…

  • a fast or irregular heartbeat,
  • chest pain,
  • shortness of breath,
  • muscle weakness,
  • nervousness,
  • a change in appetite,
  • weight loss,
  • hair loss,
  • vomiting,
  • fever,
  • changes in menstrual cycle.