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Question:
From Victoria, Australia:

I have Type 2 Diabetes (mature onset). I also have Hypothyroidism, which is the lack of Thyroid hormone. I am 36 years old, from English Irish stock. Are there any others you know who have Type 2 Diabetes and also Hypothyroidism?

Answer:
Diabetes and thyroid disease coexist at a much higher rate than would be expected by mere chance. It's easy to speculate why for Type 1 diabetes patients: there are antibodies that can be found in both disorders, which presumably might be the cause.

As we've mentioned before, Type 1 (insulin-dependent) diabetes sometimes has associations with a long list of other disorders, including

  • thyroiditis (thyroid gland inflammation with overactivity or failure),
  • Addison's disease (adrenal gland failure),
  • vitiligo (white skin patches without any pigmentation),
  • premature menopause in women,
  • pernicious anemia (a rare form of anemia due to problems with absorbing vitamin B12),
  • parathyroid gland failure (with low levels of calcium and parathyroid hormone),
  • myasthenia gravis with thymus gland failure,
  • hair loss (total baldness), and
  • others.

Our advice:

Everybody with diabetes should have lab tests to check the thyroid gland for underactivity or overactivity annually. The tests should include at least two names: a TSH, and either a T4 or free T4. If any of these tests are abnormal, more testing should be done.

P.S.
You requested that we publish your e-mail address so you could receive e-mail from others who have type II diabetes and also hypothyroidism, so we'll list it for anyone interested in corresponding with you: mohammad@melbpc.org.au

Original posting 26 Mar 96

  
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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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