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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.
Note: The contents of this blog are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be construed as medical advice or as a substitute for professional care. This site should not be used in place of professional medical advice. The author is not a physician. For medical emergencies, call 911!
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