ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Garlic Yields Up Its Health Secret
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
Soybean Chemicals May Reduce Effects of Menopause
ANIMAL CARE
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Gene Plays Key Role in Clubfoot
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
CANCER
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
Minorities Distrust Medical System More
CAREGIVING
Study Casts Doubt on Influential Hospital Safety Survey
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
Birthmark or Blood Vessel Problem?
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Periodontal Disease Impacts Whole Health
DIABETES
Exercise Protects Black Women From Type 2 Diabetes
Saliva Test Could Monitor Type 2 Diabetes
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Is Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health?
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Eating your way to Good Health
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
Climate Change Linked to Longer Pollen Seasons
EYE CARE, VISION
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
FITNESS
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
GENERAL HEALTH
What you need to know about swine flu.
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
A Little Alcohol May Help the Heart: Studies
Too Much Red Meat May Shorten Life Span
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
MENTAL HEALTH
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Protein Deposits May Show Up Before Memory Problems Occur, Study Says
Living Alone Increases Odds of Developing Dementia
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Caffeine in Pregnancy Associated With Low Birth Weight Risk
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Add your Article

Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- People with a thyroid disorder run an increased risk of developing the eye disease glaucoma, a new study suggests.

In fact, those with glaucoma are 38 percent more likely to have had a thyroid condition at some point in their life, said the study authors, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness worldwide.

"Studies like this are very useful in understanding what causes this disease," said lead researcher Gerald McGwin, vice chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the university's School of Medicine.

"If we can determine that thyroid problems are related to glaucoma, then we can make some hypotheses about what the mechanism behind that relationship might be and help us understand what might be the cause of glaucoma," McGwin said. "And that may lead to more effective treatments or preventive measures."

The findings were published online Oct. 16 in the British Journal of Ophthalmology.

For the study, McGwin's team collected data on 12,376 people who participated in the 2002 National Health Interview Survey. They were asked if they'd ever been diagnosed with a thyroid problem or glaucoma. Slightly more than 4.5 percent said they had glaucoma, and 12 percent said they had been diagnosed with a thyroid problem.

Among people who had glaucoma, 6.5 percent said they had a thyroid problem, while 4.4 percent said they'd never had a thyroid condition.

People with thyroid problems should see an ophthalmologist or make their ophthalmologist aware of their thyroid condition, McGwin advised. "Somebody who has a history of thyroid problems and has not seen an ophthalmologist may have a heightened level of concern about their eyesight," he said.

The thyroid produces hormones essential for the functioning of every cell in the body; these hormones help regulate growth and chemical reactions.

In glaucoma, the optic nerve becomes progressively damaged and, if not treated, leads to loss of vision and even blindness.

The study authors suggested that the link between glaucoma and thyroid disorders may owe to chemical deposits in the blood vessels that circulate blood to the eye, causing an increase in pressure within the eyeball. Increased pressure in the eyeball is the main feature of glaucoma.

Dr. Andrew Iwach, a spokesman for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and executive director of the Glaucoma Center of San Francisco, said the potential link between thyroid problems and glaucoma is interesting and should be taken into account, but it still needs to be proven. The best advice is to get your eyes checked, he said.

"If you haven't seen an ophthalmologist by age 40, that's a great time to get a baseline exam," Iwach said.

"People may not know they are at risk for glaucoma. You are functioning fine, and yet slowly, this disease can chip away at the optic nerve, and by the time you have symptoms from glaucoma, oftentimes there's not really much we can do," he said.

In a related study, researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago found that many elderly people have undiagnosed thyroid problems, including thyroid cancer. Older patients are twice as likely to be diagnosed with thyroid cancer as younger patients. Thyroid cancer was found in 41 percent of patients over 65, compared with 22 percent among younger patients, the researchers found.

Most thyroid cancer is treatable, and age should not be a barrier to treatment, noted the researchers, who were expected to present their findings Oct. 15 at the 2008 Clinical Congress of the American College of Surgeons, in San Francisco.

More information

For more on thyroid diseases, visit the U.S. National Library of Medicine.



SOURCES: Gerald McGwin, Ph.D., vice chairman, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine; Andrew Iwach, M.D., spokesman, American Academy of Ophthalmology, and executive director, Glaucoma Center of San Francisco; Oct. 16, 2008, British Journal of Ophthalmology, online

Last Updated: Oct. 16, 2008

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