Obesity in Children May Trigger Thyroid Disease
In September of 2008, the editors at Medical Only questioned a possible link between hypothyroidism and weight gain in children. This week, we will review the results of a study that explored a possible connection between obesity in children and thyroid disorders. This study discusses a potential association between obesity and thyroid damage in children, and the subsequent weight gain which can occur, which then leads to even more weight gain resulting in a "vicious cycle".
Indeed, overweight children may be damaging their thyroids, creating a vicious routine of lower metabolism and weight gain, according to Italian researchers and a release reported on Wednesday.
Obesity may cause a disorder that actually harms the thyroid, the gland which discharges hormones in order to accommodate metabolism balance and other momentous functions, according to Dr. Giorgio Radetti and colleagues, who are the with the Regional Hospital of Bolzano in Italy.
Their study involved over one hundred and fifty severely overweight children covering a period of three years, during which their thyroid hormone levels and thyroid antibodies were documented using thyroid gland ultrasound, among other testing. Dr. Radetti stated that that the study shows alterations in thyroid function frequent in children who are obese or severely overweight. Dr. Radetti continued by stating that he and his colleagues found a coalition between body mass and thyroid hormone levels, which demonstrate a link between fat surplus and thyroid production.
The researchers wrote in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism that seventy-three of the children who participated in the study had aggravated-looking thyroids, but not to the point of being diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which is an autoimmune disorder in which T-cells mistakenly attack the thyroid. However, these children did indeed lack the antibodies that are linked to the disease. Dr. Radetti suggested that inflammation could have caused the antibody insufficiency in these children, rather than Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
Studies of Thyroid Hormones and Obesity in Children
Researchers have concentrated on the link between thyroid hormones in childhood obesity, even to the point of some scientists suggesting that an issue with the thyroid may be accountable for some statistical cases of overweight children. This link does, however, still remain contentious and further research released from the Hospital in Bolzano, Italy may only add to the debate.
Further Evidence Released from the Study Suggests a Link Between Obesity and Thyroid Disease.
Dr. Radetti specified that the thyroid ultrasound results are unexpected, however, they do demonstrate that there is a parallel between low-grade inflammation of the thyroid and childhood obesity. The study shows that thyroid function in severely overweight children may be the unearthed link. Dr. Radetti said "We found an association between body mass index and thyroid hormone levels which suggests that fat excess may have a role in thyroid tissue modification."
Can Weight Loss Fix the Damage Caused to the Thyroid?
Even though weight loss can accompany effective thyroid hormone production in tests, Dr. Radetti stated that he was positive that the pattern of changes found by ultrasound could possibly be reversed through weight loss. However, it would require more testing and studies in order for this association to be confirmed.
What Categorizes a Child as Obese?
Obesity is defined as an excess amount of body fat. At this time, there is no specific general agreement that exists among scientists on the definition of obesity in children as in adults. The majority of professional researchers use published guidelines, which state the body mass index (BMI) for age in order to calculate obesity in children. Some scientists define obesity in children as the body weight at least 20% higher than an otherwise normal child with healthy weight for that height. In other words, obesity in children is calculated as body fat percentage above 25% in boys or above 32% in girls.
Does Excessive Weight in Children Lead to a Vicious Cycle and Low Thyroid?
Abnormally low thyroid function can be associated to weight gain, however, it is known by scientists that stimulating the thyroid does not lead to weight loss. However, weight loss has been shown to restore normal and efficient thyroid function in some people.
And because some people with low thyroid have the tendencies to have a low basal metabolic rate, an obvious result of hypothyroidism is weight gain and even the perpetuated cause of excess weight due to the difficulty to lose extra weight.
Sometimes a metabolic burn may continue to drop as calories are reduced when dieting. This is why some women with hypothyroidism or low thyroid can have weight gain even when they are maintaining a very strict calorie intake diet.
Consult a Professional
If you or loved one suspects that their child may suffer from obesity due to a thyroid disease, or suspect that their thyroid disease may be caused by obesity, it is highly recommended that they consult with a Pediatrician as soon as possible.
Thyroid Disorder Linked to Glaucoma
Thyroid disorder may be a newly recognized hazard for developing glaucoma, according to a report posted online in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.
The researchers commented that people who are diagnosed with glaucoma are more likely to have a thyroid condition, even as much as 38% more likely during their lifetime.
According to Gerald McGwin, PhD, Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama, "These findings suggest that those with a thyroid condition should be sure to see an ophthalmologist and tell them about their condition".
The report revealed a biological link between thyroid disorder and glaucoma.
Treatment of Glaucoma
Fortunately, Glaucoma can be treated with the proper screening and as with most medical conditions, early detection is the key to proper treatment.
Researchers Probe Relationship Between Thyroid Disorder and Glaucoma
A study was conducted on nearly twelve thousand participants from the National Health Survey that was taken in 2002. The researchers used odds rations and confidence intervals, which were used to quantify the link between a self-supported diagnosis of glaucoma and a self-reported thyroid disorder diagnosis. The researchers took into account whether or not the participant was a smoker and their demographic characteristics.
Outcome of the Study
Those with glaucoma that also reported a thyroid problem were 6.5% while those with glaucoma without a thyroid problem were only 4.4%. The researchers took into account risk factors for glaucoma such as gender, race, age and smoking habits, and afterwards the researchers found that the link between thyroid disorder and glaucoma was still significant.
An under active thyroid can lead to chemical deposits in the vessels which serve the eye, and can increase pressure within the eyeball. This is a known feature of glaucoma.
A spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and executive director of the Glaucoma Center in San Francisco, Dr. Andrew Iwach, noted that the possible link between thyroid problems and glaucoma is alarming and should be taken into account, however, the link still needs to be proven. The best prevention method for glaucoma is regular checkups by an Ophthalmologist. Dr. Iwach said, "If you haven't seen an ophthalmologist by age 40, that's a great time to get a baseline exam."
Dr. Iwach continued with noting that people sometimes do not know that they are at risk for developing glaucoma. They might be functioning fine, and over time the disease can "chip away" at the optic nerve, all the while increasing symptoms, which by the time they are noticed, unfortunately there may be nothing that can be done to reverse the damage.
What is the Thyroid Gland?
The thyroid gland makes hormones, which are essential for the normal function of every cell within the body. And these hormones regulate growth, development and the rate of chemical reactions.
What is Glaucoma?
Glaucoma is defined as continuous damage to the optic nerve. If left untreated, it can result in blindness.
Evidence Shows a Relation Between Thyroid Disorder, Glaucoma and the Elderly
In a comparable study, the researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago sustain that very many elderly people have undiagnosed thyroid problems; thyroid cancer is included in this list. And elderly patients are nearly twice as likely to be found to have thyroid cancer as younger patients.
Thyroid Cancer and the Elderly
In recent surveys, thyroid cancer was discovered in 41 percent of patients over 65, compared with 22 percent amid patients who were younger, according to the surveys.
Fortunately, thyroid cancer is treatable if diagnosed early, and age should not be a barricade to treatment, explained the researchers, who many were expecting to present their research findings at the 2008 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons in San Francisco.
Consult a Professional
If you or a loved one is suffering from a thyroid disorder, or suspects that they are suffering from a thyroid disorder, it is imperative that a regular checkup by an ophthalmologist be considered, certainly if the endocrinologist recommends it for screening of glaucoma.
Drinking Water in Some States Contains Chemical That Could Interfere with Thyroid Function
The Associated Press is reporting that Federal Regulators do not have any plans to try and regulate the amount of perchlorate that is in public drinking water, which has been found to pose a risk to individuals' thyroid function. The chemical can also cause developmental health risks, especially for babies and fetuses.
The decision made by the Environmental Protection Agency is not final, however, and the agency will collect public comments for thirty days before concluding the decision process as to whether or not the chemical in drinking water should be regulated.
What is Perchlorate?
The Department of Defense used perchlorate in the testing of rockets and missiles. It is estimated that the drinking water of nearly twenty million Americans is contaminated with the chemical. Perchlorate is the main ingredient of rocket and missile fuel and is an explosive element. The chemical has contaminated the drinking water supplies of many states, particularly Texas and California.
How does Perchlorate Affect the Thyroid?
Perchlorate affects human health by inhibiting iodine uptake into the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland helps to regulate the metabolism in adults and releases thyroid hormones. In children, the thyroid gland is important in proper development.
Perchlorate is becoming an urgent threat to human health and water resources.
Perchlorate and Children
Toddlers are particularly vulnerable to perchlorate in their drinking water because they eat and drink a significant amount of food and water in relation to their tiny size.
A research study conducted by the Environmental Working Group analysis of FDA data discovered that perchlorate levels even as low as four parts per billion in drinking water could possibly expose the average two year old toddler to a dangerous amount of rocket fuel contamination in their every day lives.
Cleanup of Drinking Water
The research findings of the FDA highlight the importance of the cleanup of drinking water so that small children are not exposed to rocket fuel in their drinking water. Perchlorate in drinking water can be minimized through filtration and clean up. The cleanup of perchlorate in food is more difficult because the origination of the chemical is more difficult to pin point.
Importance of Cleanup of Drinking Water
The National Academy of Sciences, also referred to as the NAS, research finding found that the health effects of perchlorate are severe.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is also referred to as the CDC, have released research conclusions that indicate that American women, especially those with low iodine intake, could possibly have reduced thyroid function as a result of perchlorate exposure. Similar thyroid function effects were not found for men.
Filter Drinking Water at Home to Protect Your Thyroid
Many people are asking the question as to whether tap water or bottled water is better for health. Because of cost, many families prefer tap water as it is more readily available than bottled water. And many prefer tap water because of environmental issues relating to the use of plastic containers that are associated with bottled water.
The standard faucet filter that many people have in their kitchen is not sufficient. Reverse osmosis drinking water treatment systems have been shown to filter out the dangerous perchlorate chemical in drinking water and aid in the protection of thyroid health.
Consult a Professional
If you have questions about your drinking water, perchlorate and the effect that it has on your thyroid health, consult a thyroid health professional.
Epidemic Levels of Patients with Hypothyroid Problems Reported
The thyroid gland plays an important part in overall health and well being. That being said, it is no surprise that the word "thyroid" comes from the Greek words "thyreos" and "eidos" that mean "in from the shield". And the thyroid is like a shield, in a way, and spreads across the front of the trachea.
Measuring only a tiny two inches wide, the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland nonetheless plays a major role in determining your overall health. So when Dr. Jackie Arnold, who practices naturopathic medicine in Great Falls, Montana, came to the realization that the number of people in her office with hypothyroidism is at an epidemic level, she naturally became concerned.
Possible Cause of Hypothyroidism
Dr. Arnold's speculation is that high number of hypothyroid patients in the Great Falls area could have to do with the heavy metals and toxins in the area. Dr. Arnold sates that the toxins in the area can affect the sensitive thyroid gland and she also theorizes that the use of birth control could also add to the high number of thyroid disorders in her area. Dr. Arnold commented that the thyroid is among some of the most sensitive glands in the body and that it can react negatively to being assaulted by estrogen.
Dr. Arnold has noted in her patient population many women who use birth control in younger years may see thyroid-related side effects later in their thirty or forties, even later. Thyroid disorders can cause infertility and problems with menstrual cycles according to Dr. Arnold. "It can also wreak havoc in menopause," Arnold said.
Life of a Hypothyroid Patient
Hypothyroid life can be difficult. A hypothyroid patient can feel sluggish, tired, and out of sorts with many aches and pains. No matter what diet is maintained, the hypothyroid patient can suffer from weight gain due to an underactive thyroid. For the lucky two-thirds of hypothyroid patients who are diagnosed and treated correctly, their hypothyroidism is treated and the patient can achieve complete recovery. Metabolism returns to a correct state of balance, symptoms gradually subside and the patient feels "normal" again.
For the unlucky one-third of hypothyroid patients, diagnosis is not so easy to make. The physicians are not sure what is wrong with the patient and usually conduct a battery of tests, none of which show any abnormalities. It is possible that the physician suspects a thyroid disorder, but the lab tests conducted are either inconclusive or are completely normal.
Whenever the thyroid gland stops functioning properly, a patient needs to take a thyroid hormone supplement. And in the case of hypothyroidism following a thyroidectomy, this is a definitive treatment for hypothyroidism. But in the case of a patient that has not had a thyroidectomy, the treatment may be more complex. In some cases, hypothyroidism can develop after pregnancy or menopause. Thyroid hormones are necessary for body functions and a qualified endocrinologist should be consulted if any type of thyroid disorder is suspected. A thyroid disorder can affect intellect, memory, emotions and many other important factors of a healthy life.
Consult a Thyroid Professional
No treatment strategy is without risk of complications and thyroid therapy is no exception. So if you or a loved one is suffering from a thyroid disorder, it is recommended that a qualified and experienced thyroid professional be consulted right away.
Diet and Your Underactive Thyroid
A Case Study of Weight Gain Due to a Thyroid Disorder
Despite popular research studies and news articles pointing to the effect of a slowing thyroid – also called hypothyroidism – many people are unaware of the side effects that may be occurring in their body due to this thyroid disorder. For many people suffering from weight gain, the cause and the ultimate solution for their weight gain can seem unreachable.
Hypothyroidism has many causes, the most popular called Hashimotos’ Thyroiditis, a condition that for no obvious reason, the body’s immune system systematically attacks its own cells, resulting in antibodies being created and misdirected toward the thyroid gland. In many cases, a feeling of sluggishness and tiredness can result. And anyone who has suffered from this will confirm, unexpected weight gain can result leaving the person feeling without hope or answers as to why this has happened.
How One Woman Combated Weight Gain Due to Underactive Thyroid
A recent news article explains how one woman combated her underactive thyroid and resulting weight gain with an aggressive diet strategy called a vegan diet plan. Angela Stokes explains how her underactive thyroid gland led to her weight gain – even to the extent of her ballooning to the weight of over three hundred pounds! The result was that she felt miserable and very unwell. She battled many infections and illnesses. She knew her thyroid was underactive, but until a friend gave her the gift of a book about the vegan diet and lifestyle, Ms. Stokes did not know how to combat weight gain due to her underactive thyroid gland.
Vegan Lifestyle Recommendations From a Veteran
Angela launched into her new diet plan without looking back. She began her vegan diet and within one year had lost over one hundred and fifty pounds. She felt better, had more energy, and was happier. Ms. Stokes now has authored several books on the vegan lifestyle, and recommends to others that they take it slowly and not dive in as quickly as she did. Also, Angela recommends networking with others that share the common goal of following the vegan diet plan.
Recommendations From a Dietician
A registered dietician and spokesperson for the American Diabetic Association, Andrea Giancoli commented that we could all benefit from eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. This is regardless of a thyroid condition. The American diet of processed foods and red meat has many cons while the pros of a fresh fruit and vegetable diet are numerous.
The Hypothyroid Diet
Research studies suggest that over-processed, or foods that are over-refined, should be avoided in the case of an underactive thyroid gland. White bread, white flour and fast food junk food are included on this list.
In most cases, a person suffering from an underactive thyroid – or hypothyroidism – should avoid goitrogenic foods. These types of foods are naturally produced foods that can possibly increase the likelihood of developing a goiter by decreasing thyroid hormone production. These are foods that disrupt the production of the thyroid gland and are categorized into two groups: soybean-related foods and cruciferous vegetable.
Soybean Related Foods and Thyroid Hormone
Soybean related foods are actually healthy in most cases, but if a person has an underactive thyroid they should avoid the isoflavones in soy, which have been linked to decreased thyroid hormone output. The reason these types of foods are associated with reduced thyroid hormone output is because they block the activity of an enzyme called thyroid peroxidase.
Certain Vegetables Can Disrupt Messages Sent Across Thyroid Cells
Like the isoflavones in soybean related foods, isothiocyanates have been shown by researchers to reduce thyroid function by interfering with thyroid peroxidase, as well as by disrupting messages sent across the membranes of thyroid cells. For these reasons, some physicians recommend that people who suffer from hypothyroidism avoid the following vegetables: broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage including kale and kohlrabi. Plus mustards, rutabaga and turnips should be avoided if following a low thyroid diet.
Consult a Professional
Preventative measures should be discussed in your physician’s office, so it is highly recommended that if you are suffering from hypothyroidism and want to address your low thyroid with diet, speak to a professional.
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