Hypothyroidism risk increases in chronic kidney disease patients with declining kidney function. The study looked at a nationally representative cohort of 461,607 veterans with chronic kidney disease stages 3-5. The researchers found that each 10 mL/min/1.73 m2 lower estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was associated with an 18 percent increased risk of hypothyroidism in adjusted analyses.
Hypothyroidism was determined by laboratory tests or receipt of thyroid hormone supplementation.
Senior author Dr. Csaba P. Kovesdy said, “To our knowledge, this is the largest examination of the relationship between eGFR and thyroid functional status conducted to date.” The authors wrote, “Our findings add to a growing body of literature demonstrating a relationship between impaired kidney function and hypothyroidism.”
Although the study shows an association, it cannot demonstrate a cause-and-effect relationship as it was observational. It has long been hypothesized, though, that declining kidney function may contribute to hypothyroidism.
The connection between kidney and thyroid functions has been long known, but determining which came first or which one influenced the other is difficult. The link may have to do with leptin resistance, which both the thyroid and kidneys share.
Leptin resistance causes the thyroid to act sluggish, all the while increasing adrenaline, which harms the kidneys. Furthermore, thyroid hormones regulate the kidneys’ ability to filter out waste, meaning if the thyroid is impaired, the kidneys’ ability to perform their job becomes impaired as well.
All in all, improving kidney function can help with thyroid function and vice versa, all the while supporting cardiovascular health, too.
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