ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
The Zen Way to Pain Relief
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Varicose, Spider Veins May Be Inevitable for Some
Autumn Sees More Women With Bunion Problems
Vitamin D Plus Calcium Guards Against Fractures
CANCER
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Smoking Ups Risk of Second Breast Cancer
CAREGIVING
Injected Medication Errors a Major Problem
Late-Life Fatherhood May Lower Child's Intelligence
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
Sports Drinks May Be Tough on Teeth
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
Drug May Not Help Diabetes-Related Eye Damage
DIET, NUTRITION
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Fasting on Alternate Days May Make Dieting Easier
Coffee or Tea Consumption May Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
What's Cookin'? It Could Be Air Pollution
Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent
EYE CARE, VISION
Half of U.S. Adults Lack 20/20 Vision
Brain Adapts to Age-Related Eye Disease
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
FITNESS
Walk Long, Slow and Often to Help the Heart
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
Tai Chi: An Ideal Exercise for Many People with Diabetes
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Intestinal Bacteria Trigger Immune Response
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Green Spaces Boost the Body and the Mind
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Coffee Is Generally Heart-Friendly
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Folic Acid Reduces Infant Heart Defects
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
MEN'S HEALTH
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Shop 'Til You Drop: You May Feel Better
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Music of Mozart Soothes the Preemie Baby
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Daily dose of beet juice promotes brain health in older adults
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Active Young Women Need Calcium, Vitamin D
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
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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