Herbal Remedy Could Halt Peanut Allergy
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Acupuncture May Help Restore Lost Sense of Smell
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Bones
Occupational Therapy Plus Exercise Benefits Osteoarthritis
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
Hypnosis Cuts Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer Survivors
Selenium, Omega-3s May Stave Off Colorectal Cancer
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
New Guidelines for Treating Heart Failure
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Coordination Has Led to Quicker Heart Treatment
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Formula Puts Doctor, Patient Glucose Readings on Same Page
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
Meat Additives May Be Dangerous for Kidney Patients
Eating Healthy : You Can Live Longer
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
1976 Italian Dioxin Release Damaged Babies' Thyroids
Common Pesticide Tied to Development Delays in Kids
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Action-Filled Video Games Boost Adult Vision
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Run for Your Life
Vigorous Treadmill Workout Curbs Appetite Hormones
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Why Am I So Tired? Could It Be Low Thyroid?
Swine Flu May Pose Problems for Pregnant Women
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
How Weight Loss Can Help the Heart
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Time to Remind Teens About Sun Protection
Most Depressed Teens Don't Get Treatment
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Eight Spiritual Universal Principles in the Art of Practice
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Exercise As Well As Acupuncture, May Ease Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Laughter Can Stimulate a Dull Appetite
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Health Tip: Be More Comfortable During Childbirth
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

Copyright 2008 ScoutNews, LLC. All rights reserved.

More articles at