Connection between Thyroid and smoking
People often ask doctors the link between thyroid and smoking, many thinking that there actually is no link. Well the facts are that thyroid cancer is found to be the eighth common cause of cancer in women and the value is surprisingly increasing!
But let’s talk about the effects of smoking a swell. Smoking affects every single organ in your body as tobacco smoke contains substances which have proven to be very dangerous for the body. These substances include cyanide and thiocyanate. When a person smokes, cyanide is thus converted into thiocyanate; the latter stops the thyroid gland to absorb iodine (one of its functions) thereby reducing the formation of important hormones that are required by the rest of the organs such as liver, kidneys. We can say that smoking not only damages the gland but affects its vital function to the body.
Moreover, patients who suffer from Hypothyroidism, meaning less thyroid function, if they smoke the symptoms that they had earlier will aggravate. For example if their symptoms included weight gain, weakness, hair loss, these symptoms will get worse with time leading to inflammation of the gland which may lead to swelling. One late complication of this is Grave’s disease in which there is an enlarged thyroid gland (or also called goiter).
Smoking and eye problems
Another adverse effect of smoking is that it also affects your vision. For example in people who have Grave’s opthalmopathy and are smokers they will be seen with rapid eye deterioration, double vision and eye constriction problems. Also the treatment medications are known to be four times more ineffective than with non-smokers, thereby reducing the effect of radiation and steroids used that are used to treat thyroid related eye problems.
Smoking and Thyroid cancer
Cambodian woman with a very enlarged thyroid but still smoking every day.
Smoking does not directly affect the tumor, however it increases the risk of metastasis by basically extending the spread of the tumor from that specific point to other parts of the body. Smoking will therefore make your symptoms worse than before, increase the spread of the disease to a double and make all the medications very ineffective. So before you think that it is alright to smoke while having cancer you should rethink the possibility that it might just worsen your disease.
Cessation of smoking: Does it lead to hypothyroidism?
Many smokers have complained that once they stop smoking they notice symptoms of thyroid disease such as hypothyroidism. The symptoms may include an enlarged thyroid, eye problems, increasing weakness and fatigue. According to research if you leave smoking for 2 years, your risk of developing hypothyroidism increases six times. Also it is a fact that the levels of thyroid antibodies increase in the thyroid gland after a smoker stops smoking. According to another research there is a risk of weight gain after cessation of smoking and this might impede to ineffective treatment of hypothyroidism. However whatever the new researches assume, this becomes an excuse for many smokers to stop smoking. Smoking is not only bad for your thyroid gland but also affects other organs such as your heart and lungs. Any day is a good day to quit smoking so get on those nicotine patches!