Over 50-million Americans are affected by a thyroid disorder; 50-million Americans are also affected by metabolic syndrome (MetS); finally, insulin resistance, one element of metabolic syndrome, affects 105-million Americans. Healthy thyroid function depends on keeping your blood sugar at a normal, healthy level, and keeping your blood sugar at a normal level correlates directly to a healthy thyroid function. Thyroid dysfunction, blood sugar levels and metabolic syndrome certainly seem to have a very close connection.
This Thyroid Article will cover four areas, including:
- How high blood sugar affects the thyroid?
- How low blood sugar affects the thyroid?
- How low thyroid function affects blood sugar?
- How to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level?
How Does High Blood Sugar Affects the Thyroid?
Metabolic syndrome occurs when certain metabolic risk factors appearing together, including:
- abdominal obesity
- high cholesterol and triglycerides
- high blood pressure
- insulin resistance
- tendency to form blood clots
Excessive carbohydrate intake causes the pancreas to secrete insulin to transport glucose from the blood into the cells where glucose is used to create energy. Over time, cells lose their ability to recognize insulin. The pancreas then produces additional insulin to move glucose into the cells. The outcome of this process is known as insulin resistance.
These insulin surges aid in the destruction of the thyroid gland, especially in those with autoimmune thyroid disease. When the thyroid gland is destroyed, thyroid hormone production fails.
How Does Low Blood Sugar Affect the Thyroid?
Just like high blood pressure, chronic low blood sugar can affect the thyroid and its functions.
When blood sugar drops below normal levels, the adrenal glands secrete a hormone called cortisol, which tells the liver to produce more glucose to brings blood sugar levels back to normal.
Cortison, also known as epinephrine, is the hormone responsible for fight/flight reactions, or those which increase the heart rate, lung action and increase the blood flow to skeletal muscles to help us defend ourselves or run from danger. Unfortunately, repeated cortisol releases caused by low blood sugar levels suppress pituitary function; therefore, the thyroid is unable to function properly.
How Does Low Thyroid Function Affect Blood Sugar
Low thyroid function has the ability to cause dysglycemia and metabolic syndrome through several functions: It slows glucose intake by the cells, it slows the rate of glucose absorption in the gastrointestinal tract, it elevates blood sugar via insulin production and it slows the removal of insulin from the blood.
Since cells don’t get the glucose they need, the adrenal glands release cortisol to increase the glucose available to them. This results in chronic stress response, which suppresses thyroid function.
How Do You Keep Your Blood Sugar At A Healthy Level
It’s vital to understand that with high or low blood sugar, you most likely have insulin resistance in some form or other. The goal is to keep your blood sugar at a healthy level; between 75 – 95 mg/dL at fasting blood sugar levels and around 100 mg/dL two hours after a meal.
With these targets in mind, how do you successfully meet them? If you have hypoglycemia, your goal is to stay above 75 mg/dL. Eat a low or moderate carb diet to prevent blood sugar fluctuations, and eat small meals every 2-3 hours to keep a continuous supply of energy to the body
If you have hyperglycemia, keep your blood sugar below 120 two hours after a meal. You will have to restrict carbohydrates during your meals. There is no magic formula to calculate carbohydrate tolerance. You’ll need to buy a blood glucose meter and test your blood sugar after various meals to determine your thresholds. If you’re carb heavy, your blood sugar will remain high after your meal.
If your thyroid function is poor, take steps to normalize it. Dysglycemia can decrease thyroid function, and thyroid disorders can lead to dysglycemia and cause insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
Contact Dr. Hagmeyer to schedule a consultation today: 630-718-0555