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How To Determine Thyroid and Low Blood Sugar Problems

January 14, 2021

If you have thyroid and low blood sugar concerns, there’s a good chance you may be diagnosed with hypothyroidism. But diabetics who also have hyperthyroidism may have lower levels, too. The truth is, there is only one way to figure out if your blood glucose levels are being negatively impacted by thyroid dysfunction: a blood test.

January is Thyroid Awareness Month, which makes it a good time to dive a little deeper into the topic of thyroid disease. Let’s take a look at what a blood test will tell you and how it can pinpoint a link between your thyroid and low blood sugar.

Measuring Blood Sugar Levels

Regular blood sugar monitoring is the most important thing you can do to manage Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. This includes getting an A1C test at least twice a year. You will have to follow your doctor’s advice because some people may need to have the test more often.

A1C targets differ based on age and health. Your glycemic goals may be more or less stringent than someone else. The American Diabetes Association suggests the following targets for most nonpregnant adults with diabetes.

  • A1C: Less than 7%
  • Before a meal (preprandial plasma glucose): 80–130 mg/dL
  • 1-2 hours after the beginning of the meal (Postprandial plasma glucose)*: Less than 180 mg/dL

The result can be used as a screening tool for diabetes mellitus (diabetes).

Discovering Thyroid Disorders

Doctors may order one or more blood tests to check your thyroid function. Tests may include thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), T4, T3, and thyroid antibody tests.

Thyroid blood tests check your thyroid function. For these tests, a healthcare professional will draw blood from your arm and send it to a lab for testing.

Your Thyroid And Low Blood Sugar

Hyperthyroidism and low blood glucose can be hard to tell apart. If you are sweating and having tremors from hyperthyroidism, you may think you have low blood sugar and eat extra food. This will cause your blood glucose to rise. A glucose meter can verify how low your blood glucose levels are.  

You could also be diagnosed with hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid. When your metabolism slows, your blood glucose level may drop because your diabetes medicine doesn’t pass through your body as quickly as usual and stays active longer. In hypothyroidism, it is often necessary to reduce your dose of diabetes medicines to prevent low blood glucose.

What You Can Do

You may have never considered a possible connection between diabetes and thyroid disease, or a link between your thyroid and low blood sugar. That's why it's crucial to see your doctor for regular checkups. Tell your healthcare provider about any symptoms you may be having, and a simple blood test is all your doctor will need to diagnose  hyper- or hypothyroidism.

If you have hyperthyroidism, medicines and other treatments can help slow your metabolism by controlling the release of thyroid hormone. If you have hypothyroidism, your doctor can prescribe thyroid hormone pills to speed up your metabolism.  

A blood test will not only provide critical information regarding your thyroid and low blood sugar levels, it will give you insight into many other potential health problems you may have. It can also tell you if you’re at risk of developing additional problems down the road.

Annual Exams-Dr. Stevens

Our new infographic “Decoding Your Lab Results” will help explain what a blood test looks for and what the results mean. It’s a good first step to understanding what your body may be trying to tell you.

Decoding Your Lab Results