Thyroid 101: Smokers and Your Thyroid
DR. Guttler’s comments:
- Smoking can cause autoimmune changes and can cause worsening of thyroid eye disease. in Graves’ disease.
- Thyroid problems occur in much larger percentage of people and can develop soon after one starts smoking.
- This is not a proven fact.
Can it mess up your thyroid gland? Probably Not
HYDERABAD: If you are a smoker, you should probably pay a visit to an endocrinologist soon, as smoking not only poses the risk of cancer, but can also mess up with your thyroid glands.
As part of a study titled ‘A study on correlation between smoking and thyroid function’ published in European Journal of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, conducted by researchers from biochemistry department of Osmania Medical College, the researchers studied Thyroid Stimulating Hormones (TSH), Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3) levels of equal number of smokers and non-smokers.
While TSH was lower, T3 and T4 levels were higher among smokers than non-smokers.
This condition is known as hyperthyroidism. It was observed that 58.5 per cent of the smokers had abnormally low TSH levels whereas 20 per cent and 46 per cent of the smokers had abnormally high T3 and T4 levels respectively.
The results are similar to some studies conducted elsewhere in the world, like the recently published study published in Clinical Endocrinology journal, that was conducted in South Korea which included 5,639 individuals aged above 18, from the Sixth Korean National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which also reported significantly lower TSH levels in the blood in smokers than non-smokers.
For the Hyderabad-based study, it was ensured that the sample of smokers chosen for the study were healthy males aged 25-50 years with no history of thyroid disease, steroids medication, liver disease or pituitary disorders, which can alter the thyroid levels, so that the effect of just the habit of smoking can be observed.
Why should one be worried?
Dr Abdur Rehman Asif, one of the researchers who conducted the Hyderabad-based study and now working as an Assistant Professor in a medical college, said, “While cancer might take years to develop due to smoking and affects a small percentage of people who smoke cigarettes, thyroid problem occurs in much larger percentage of people and can develop soon after one starts smoking.”
What the thyroid hormones do
Thyroid hormones maintain the basal metabolism of the body & an imbalance in it can cause a range of health issues like development of the brain, infertility, improper menstruation, Basal Metabolic Rate, calcium defeciency, hypertension