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Thyroid disease is more prevalent in people with diabetes with up to 30% of females with type 1 diabetes having thyroid disease [1]. The presence of thyroid disease may affect diabetes control. Hyperthyroidism is associated with worsening glycaemic control and increased insulin requirements. There also might be gastrointestinal glucose absorption issues, as well as insulin resistance.

The thyroid gland belongs to the same family of glands known as the endocrine system. Glands produce hormones, with each hormone having a direct role and affect on how the body functions. Hormones and glands can often interact with each other, and where you will find an issue or problem with one, you will have with another. Thyroid disease and type 1 diabetes are described as sister diseases, like branches of a tree. Each is different but the root is the same. That root is autoimmunity, where the immune system is attacking your own healthy endocrine parts.

People with type 1 Diabetes may develop an under active thyroid which is called Hashimotos disease. About 10 percent of the time, the thyroid issue is an overactive thyroid called Graves Disease.

Symptoms of Under-active Thyroid are as follows:

  • decreased energy
  • hair loss
  • inappropriate weight gain
  • feeling cold
  • constipation
  • dry skin
  • heavy periods
  • difficulty concentrating

Symptoms of Over active Thyroid are as follows:

  • trouble concentrating
  • heat intolerance
  • frequent bowel movements
  • excessive sweating
  • increase appetite
  • unexpected weight loss
  • restlessness
  • a visible lump in the throat
  • nervousness
  • irregular menstrual periods

All people with diabetes should be screened annually at least for thyroid disease. This can be done by a simple blood test that can be taken with your HbA1c. It is important for people with diabetes to take ownership of their own health and ask has their thyroid function tests been taken and clarify the results. People should not presume that these tests have automatically been taken. If you have any of the above symptoms, ask your GP for advice and clarification.


Diabetes Insight Just Doesn’t Tell You How, We Show You How!

Diabetes Insight is Ireland’s only private independent advisory service and education centre dedicated and specializing solely in Diabetes Self Management Education (DSME). Its aim is to make a difference in the lives of those living daily with diabetes by providing quality education, advice, support and resources in a clear, simple, practical easy to understand manner without fear of judgement or blame. We respect and see each person with diabetes as an individual, with individual needs, so all our services are tailored to your specific needs. 

All our services are designed and facilitated by Helena Farrell RGN, MSc Diabetes who has over 15 years experience working and studying in diabetes management. These services are unique, from cookery courses to one day courses and are not to be found in any other health service or provider within the Republic of Ireland. 

Contact us today to see how we can help you and make a difference to you living with diabetes by ringing Helena on (086) 1739287 &/or email With services starting from as little as 20 euros, there is something to cater for every budget and need.


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[1] Duntas, Leonidas H., Jacques Orgiazzi, and Georg Brabant. “The interface between thyroid and diabetes mellitus.” Clinical Endocrinology 75.1 (2011): 1-9.

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