At the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in April 2016, a group of scientists from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands presented some interesting information on the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
The risk factor is the thyroid hormone. In fact, the risk lies in the level of the thyroid hormone. Low levels of the thyroid hormone have been found to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. The risk is enhanced when the individual has prediabetes.
Prediabetes is basically a moderate increase in blood sugar levels, which indicates a possible risk of developing type 2 diabetes. One in 10 people with prediabetes goes on to develop type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Layal Chaker and her colleagues studied 8,542 adults who were 45 years or older in a study conducted in Rotterdam. The average age of the study population was around 65 years. Their blood was analyzed for thyroid hormone and blood sugar levels. The medical records of the participants were then assessed once in 2 to 3 years. The participants were also checked for the development of type 2 diabetes.
Over a period of approximately 8 years, it was observed that 798 participants developed diabetes. There were 1, 100 participants who developed prediabetes initially.
The thyroid hormone is effective in regulating how the energy from food is utilized and saved. This explains why when the thyroid hormone levels are low (hypothyroidism), the breakdown of food is slow and such individuals gain weight. It has been shown through other scientific literature that low levels of the thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism)
Based on this knowledge, Dr. Chaker’s group observed that the prediabetic participants in the study who had low range values of the thyroid hormone actually showed a 1.4 times increase in chances in the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.
“Statistically, the study noted that prediabetic individuals who had low levels or were in the low to normal range of thyroid hormone levels, showed a 40% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In comparison, normal individuals with low levels of thyroid hormone levels had a 13% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”
The study has put forth an interesting perspective on thyroid hormones. It would be prudent to test individuals with low thyroid hormone levels for their blood sugar levels. Regular monitoring of these individuals may delay or perhaps prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes with the appropriate management techniques.