Is Your Thyroid KILLING You? Diabetes

Diabetes & Thyroid Disease

Dana, your blood sugar and cholesterol are very high. Do you have a family history of diabetes and heart disease?

Several months later…

Dana, your blood sugar and cholesterol are high again. You should start a cholesterol-lowering statin drug and diabetes medication. Let’s wait until your next lab test to decide.

347 million people worldwide have diabetes. The World Health Organization warns that its escalating rates around the world will result in the doubling of diabetes deaths between 2005 and 2030.[1]

Thyroid Disease and Diabetes

The frequency of thyroid dysfunction in diabetic patients is higher than that of the general population. The Journal of Thyroid Research published an article in 2011 reviewing the scientific research worldwide on thyroid disorders and diabetes mellitus.[2]

Perros et al. demonstrated an overall prevalence of 13.4% of thyroid diseases in diabetics with the highest prevalence in type 1 female diabetics (31.4%). A prevalence of 12.3% was reported among Greek diabetic patients and 16% of Saudi patients with type 2 diabetes were found to have thyroid dysfunction. In Jordan, a study reported that thyroid dysfunction was present in 12.5% of type 2 diabetic patients.

Thyroid disorders remain the most frequent autoimmune disorders associated with type 1 diabetes. Positive TPO antibodies have been reported in as high as 38% of diabetic individuals. Ghawil et al. documented that 23.4% of type 1 diabetic Libyan subjects had positive TPO antibodies and 7% had positive TG antibodies.

According to the World Health Organization, 50% of people with diabetes die of cardiovascular disease.[3]

In the legendary book Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness, Dr. Broda Barnes presented research that the cardiovascular complication of diabetes was due to low thyroid function rather than insulin. Just one look at the article Is Your Thyroid Killing You? Heart Disease will show you that there is a deadly link between hypothyroidism and heart disease. Dr. Barnes wrote that many diabetic patients are in fact hypothyroid and the heart disease that manifests in these diabetic patients is due to the thyroid deficiency. Dr. Barnes claimed that heart disease complications of diabetes could be prevented by treatment with natural desiccated thyroid.

Thyroid Screening for Diabetics

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetics have an increased risk of thyroid disorder. All diabetics, pre-diabetics, and those with family history of diabetes, should receive thyroid screening.

Multiple studies conclude that hypothyroidism shows a strong association with type 2 diabetes.[4,5] Yes the association is greater with type 1, but what about all the type 2 diabetic sufferers who may be hypothyroid. Why should they not have the opportunity to be tested to rule out thyroid disorder? If their undiagnosed hypothyroidism is causing heart disease complications, simple testing may save their lives.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas that make insulin. A person with one autoimmune disease is more likely to develop other autoimmune diseases. Type 1 diabetics are at high risk of Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune thyroid disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, and vice versa. Hashimoto’s is one of the leading causes of hypothyroidism in the world. With this recommendation to test only TSH, type 1 diabetics with Hashimoto’s may go undiagnosed. There is no mention of testing thyroid antibodies for Hashimoto’s.

TSH is the blood test recommended for diagnosis. There is no mention of conducting full thyroid testing, including Free T4, Free T3, and Reverse T3. There is also no mention of the fact that the TSH reference range is so broad that ‘normal’ doesn’t make it ‘optimal’ for every patient. So many hypothyroid sufferers go undiagnosed because mainstream medicine relies solely on TSH as the “gold” standard for diagnosis and treatment.

Dana, your high cholesterol and blood sugar levels are now normal.

My primary care physician shakes his head in amazement. (I had searched for a great thyroid doctor who was open to exploring the thyroid treatment options to find what was right for me. Thanks to a combination of natural desiccated thyroid and time-release compounded T3 my life changed.)

You won’t be needing the prescriptions for statins and diabetes medication.

The Thyroid Federation International estimates there are up to 300 million people worldwide with thyroid dysfunction yet over half are unaware of their condition.[6] Given that close to 150 million people worldwide are estimated to be unaware of their thyroid dysfunction, how many diabetics are there right now worldwide unaware of their thyroid condition? Hmmm…


1. World Health Organization. World Diabetes Day 2012

2. Hage, M., Zantout, M.S., Azar, S.T. Review Article: Thyroid Disorders and Diabetes Mellitus. Journal of Thyroid Research Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 439463, 7 pages.

3. World Health Organization. Diabetes

4. Demitrost, L., Ranabir, S. Thyroid dysfunction in type 2 diabetes mellitus: A retrospective study. Indian J Endocrol Metb. 2012 Dec;16(Suppl 2):S334-335.

5. Chaker, L., et al. Thyroid function and risk of type 2 diabetes: a population-based prospective cohort study. BMC Med. 2016;14:150.

6. Thyroid Federation International. International Thyroid Awareness Week

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About Dana Trentini

Dana Trentini founded Hypothyroid Mom October 2012 in memory of the unborn baby she lost to hypothyroidism. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consulting your physician regarding medical advice pertaining to your health. Hypothyroid Mom includes affiliate links including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.


  1. joan griffiths says

    i feel this all due to the drug company’s and money , doctors are afraid they will loose there jobs if they treat us , the drug company’s own the university where they are trained and also sit on the board, training doctors barely get any training on the thyroid.

  2. I fought for 30+ years to convince Drs I suffered Hypothyroidism following a difficult and unusual Hydatidiformole triplet pregnancy. At 24/40 I suffered a major haemorrhage at home, I was admitted to hospital where I stayed for 7 weeks; labour was induced and I haemorrhaged again. I had a 10 unit blood transfusion and intravenous antibiotics simultaneously.
    I’d suffered glandular fever as a child but recovered and was sporty and fit. I also have a long family history of hypothyroidism but after this, I suffered overt symptoms of hypothyroidism with the list ever longer by the day.
    Bleeding during pregnancy, labour and immediately post-partum will negatively impact the Hypothalamus and Pituitary gland causing them to atrophy; this may be immediate with symptoms such as breast feeding being impossible or it may be a little time after the incident or even become obvious slowly over years. Haemorrhage during this period is referred to as Sheehan’s Syndrome or Post-Partum Hypopituitarism, women affected in this way are often not informed of the potential problems they may experience in the future.
    My symptoms of Hypothyroidism occurred quite quickly after this pregnancy and the resulting haemorrhage/blood transfusion, however, I was consistently told over the next 30 years that the TSH was ‘normal’ and the numbers were too low to consider Hypothyroidism responsible for my symptoms. Of course it seems likely that if the pituitary gland is no longer able to function normally then it’s response to the body’s need for thyroid hormone will also not be normal and this is likely to affect the levels of TSH produced by the pituitary gland.
    No Dr considered this relevant either of their own accord or even when I pointed this out and so for 30 years I suffered an ever growing list of worsening symptoms and no help. At this point I couldn’t even remember my own birthdate or my maiden name; a name I had retained throughout my working career despite being married. Eventually, (a private/non NHS) enlighten Dr in the UK confirmed a diagnosis of Hypothyroidism and with the first tiny tablet of porcine thyroid I could tell this was what my body desperately needed.
    Since then I have found the dose and balance of medication that treats my symptoms and keeps me functioning and working in a physically demanding job at the age of 65 years. Through those 14 years at regular intervals I have been harassed by the medical profession and the local NHS finance group (CCG) to stop my vital medication.
    I take Liothyronine or T3 120mcgs daily in divided doses and
    ERFA Thyroid 240mgs daily in divided doses, (a brand of porcine thyroid).
    I also take adrenal support due to low adrenal output and
    various vitamins and minerals.
    This combination of treatment enabled me to go through the menopause and come out the other end relatively unscathed.
    Suddenly on two occasions my medication was cancelled by my (then new) GP after writing the prescription. Each occasion I had to go begging that he continue the meds. On the third occasion of stopping my medication without any discussion I changed surgeries and was able to continue my medication with another new GP.
    This arrangement was fine until the CCG said they would no longer fund my medication. In the UK Hypothyroidism is considered sufficiently serious a condition that sufferers no matter what age, are able to access free prescriptions. However, the cost of Liothyronine has dramatically increased in the UK, due to a single manufacturer holding the NHS to ransom and of course the medical professions’ refusal to properly listen and understand our needs. My new GP suggested he refer me to a Consultant outside the area covered by my current CCG.
    I had the referral in October 2017, I was told the meds I take are causing me to be Hyperthyroid; yes, but only as measured by the TSH. Remember, its likely my TSH isn’t as reactive as others’ may be. I explained I have no symptoms of Hyperthyroidism and in fact even taking this dose I suffered days when I was obviously hypothyroid. I also referred to the Sheehan’s Syndrome and that I also have lead & mercury (+ other metals) toxicity; which massively impacts the thyroid gland; therefore, how could my results be compared to his or any other healthy and fit individual. Plus since I have taken this dose for almost 14 years I doubt my thyroid gland is going to compensate for any reduced medication.
    I was told a Drs training told him that everyone should have a TSH level above at least 1mili-international units per litre. I stated that in my case that level was too high; we settled that I would reduce the T3 slowly over time and if my symptoms returned then he would agree I should increase back to my previous dose.

    So with this in mind, since October 2017 when my meds were reduced I have suffered:
    More choking to the point whereby I almost faint because I can’t breath
    Can’t sing (I used to have quite a good singing voice)
    Fatigue+++++ (more than usual)
    eye sight changes
    mental slowing
    physical slowing
    Cant read anything because I become soporific and need to sleep
    Irregular heart beat and chest pain
    dysphagia – unable to swallow food/getting stuck in oesophagus; being investigated
    pneumonia +++++ hospitalised; even Drs said I had an worryingly severe infection
    Iron deficiency anaemia treated with oral iron supplements
    3x colds with productive cough/green mucous some so thick it was a hard bullet of mucous; since the pneumonia
    swollen eye with conjunctivitis
    Diarrhoea x 2 months for no obvious reason (undigested food passed immediately after eating, + watery pale stool and wind). I couldn’t go anywhere without knowing there was an easily accessible bathroom. To my great embarrassment, on two occasions I didn’t make the bathroom, but even when I did the result was an explosion of noise and diarrhoea and the smell was absolutely vile. Spontaneously started and spontaneously stopped.
    Shingles affecting my face treated with anti-viral drugs
    Diagnosis of Diabetes and told to sort my diet or treatment needed
    I’ve endured severe illness since Christmas,when we visited the cost with family miles away from home. I was hospitalised on New Years Day with diagnosis of pneumonia. I required 3 different IV antibiotics and analgesics for 5 days and then oral doses thereafter.
    I’ve had endoscopy, colonoscopy and oesophageal muscle pressure testing – so far nothing obvious seen to cause difficultly swallowing food; though Consultant said its most commonly associated with Hypothyroidism!
    Then at a routine GP visit to check my blood results, I am told I am now Diabetic and likely due to the severe infections I’ve suffered recently.
    This sequence of events occurred during the latter part of December, 2017 until March, 2018. I cannot believe and no Dr will convince me this catastrophe to my health has not happened as a consequence of the change in the dose of my thyroid medication.
    I have lost muscle all over my body in this short time and my strength is poor as a result. I have been too ill to resume a normal exercise regime and return to work; I am self employed so no sick pay for me.
    Type II Diabetes is associated with Hypothyroidism and can also be bought on by severe infections. I also now constantly produce mucous from my lungs which I have never done previously; I get breathless walking as a result. I have never been considered border line diabetic in the past so this is a bolt from the blue.
    I am furious that the CCG’s demands to stop my medication have caused my health to deteriorate as it has. I now have to come to terms with this as well as hypothyroidism and toxic metal poisoning; I also have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; and now diabetes and of course that puts me at risk of more disease, pain and morbidity.

    • MaryLynn Williams says

      Wow I have been through the same thing and doctors continually want me to take medication and more medication. They sle8 get insulted when you try to explain what is going on they just seem to shut down shake their head and write out another prescription. I an how at 53 on disability because of all of my health issues which have caused major depression. I am so sorry for anyone who has had these horrific experiences with the medical profession.

  3. My best friend and partner very recently passed away. One of the causes of death was listed as Hypothyroidism. A previous G.P, who was aware that he suffered from Type 2 Diabetes, hadn’t given him a diabetes test for a period of at least 8 years when my best friend was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. His symptoms had been noticed by his then G.P. as he had referred him to a Podiatrist because of his cracked heels (an obvious symptom of Hypothyroidism). I firmly believe that his G.P’s ignorance or lack of appropriate care was definitely a major contributor of my friend’s death. It is my considered opinion that doctor’s should be more aware of Thyroid problems before more deaths result in their either lack of knowledge or lack of concern.

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