ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
New Spray Could Benefit Cystic Fibrosis Patients
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
New Insights Show Ginseng Fights Inflammation
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Living Near Major Road May Boost Rheumatoid Arthritis Risk
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tequila Plant May Help Fight Bone Loss
CANCER
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Supplement Hampers Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
CAREGIVING
Caregiving May Lengthen Life
With Alzheimer's, Health-Care Costs Could Triple
Moms Who Breast-Feed Less Likely to Neglect Child
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Holistic Dentistry-My View
Amino Acid May Be Key to Strong Teeth
DIABETES
Doctors Urged to Screen Diabetics for Sleep Apnea
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
DIET, NUTRITION
DASH Diet Has Extra Benefits for Women's Health
Fruits, Vegetables, Teas May Cut Smokers' Cancer Risk
Atkins Diet Tougher on Heart After Weight Loss
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Think You Are Lead-Free? Check Your Soil
Pesticides on Produce Tied to ADHD in Children
EYE CARE, VISION
When Gauging Age, the Eyes Have It
High Temps Degrade Contact Lens Solution: Study
Too Much Sun, Too Few Antioxidants Spell Eye Trouble
FITNESS
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
Multivitamins Might Prolong Life
Heart Disease May Be Prevented By Taking Fish Oils, Study Shows
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
Small Cuts in Salt Intake Spur Big Drops in Heart Trouble
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Exercise Eases Obesity and Anger in Kids
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
MEN'S HEALTH
Countdown to Hair Loss
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
MENTAL HEALTH
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
Consciousness Helps the Mind and Body Work Together
Vitamin C Protects Some Elderly Men From Bone Loss
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
SENIORS
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Air Pollution Slows Women's Marathon Times
Iodine in Prenatal Vitamins Varies Widely
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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