Guest Author - Jim Lowrance
There are many co-morbid disorders that can affect thyroid patients. One of those is a syndrome affecting the body’s metabolism, called “Metabolic Syndrome”. According to reputable medical sources, this syndrome affects millions of people and puts them at higher risk for developing diabetes, heart disease and other potentially serious health problems. This syndrome has gained recognition because of its ability to significantly increase the risk for diabetes and in past years was known by other names including “Syndrome X”.
Medical research conclusions link the Metabolic Syndrome to thyroid dysfunction, some, including the one I quote below, associate it with "sub-clinical hypothyroidism". What I feel is significant about this study is the fact that most hypothyroid patients who are later treated, experienced long standing sub-clinical hypothyroidism, before progressing to overt (full blown) hypothyroidism. This means most of us who were diagnosed with hypothyroidism, were at risk for Metabolic Syndrome.
"Objective: To explore the hypothesis that thyroid function, in euthyroid subjects, is associated with components of the metabolic syndrome, including serum lipid concentrations and insulin resistance.
Moreover, low normal FT4 levels were significantly associated with increased insulin resistance.".
(Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism)
Link> Thyroid Function is Associated with Components of the Metabolic Syndrome in Euthyroid Subjects
Metabolic Syndrome occurs when a person gains extra weight and has become less active, so that their bodies lack the needed exercise to help them burn fat and calories. The hormone in the body that aids in this process is “insulin”. This pancreatic hormone takes glucose, fats and carbohydrates (sugar, starch, cellulose) and helps to convert them into energy that is needed by the body. Glucose is essential in the body and without it, the body cannot function. A major organ that depends highly upon glucose, is the brain. When someone who is at risk for developing Metabolic Syndrome due to being overweight and inactive consumes fats, sugars and carbohydrates, their bodies begin to store these rather than burn them off or convert them into energy. The lack of glucose metabolism is referred to as “Insulin Resistance”.
Over time, insulin resistance can evolve into Type II Diabetes or what is also referred to as Adult Onset Diabetes. In addition to this syndrome increasing the risk of diabetes, it can also contribute to hypertension, elevated cholesterol and heart disease. Other medical sources also associate Metabolic Syndrome with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
The symptoms that indicate development of this syndrome include; weight gain, especially in the mid-section of your body, development of hypertension, hypoglycemic episodes (lows in glucose energy levels before and after meals), mood swings and inability to concentrate (brain fog). People, who are developing this disorder, will often have borderline diabetic glucose levels, when they are blood lab tested for diabetes. They will also often have elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Improving your diet by eliminating refined sugars, cutting back on unhealthy fats (saturated/trans fats) and simple carbohydrates (pies, cakes, candies & soft drinks) and eating more complex carbohydrates (fruits vegetables, nuts & grains) plus keeping your weight down and exercising will significantly reduce your chances of developing Metabolic Syndrome and the serious health complications that can develop from it.
Thyroid patients with hypothyroidism are at increased risk for other metabolic disorders, such as diabetes as well as this pre-diabetes condition called Metabolic Syndrome.