Friday, April 2, 2010

Thyroid and strokes in the young by Jerry Brainum

Strokes are caused by either a sudden rupture of a blood vessel in the brain, or by a clot that prevents blood flow, leading to destruction of neurons or brain cells. While strokes are most often associated with older people, they can also occur at any age. although the precise cause of strokes in the young are often obscure. In some cases, drug usage is involved, such as the use of Ecstasy or cocaine. Excess alcohol can raise blood pressure high enough to cause a stroke in some people, and high blood pressure is the major risk factor for both types of stroke. A new study suggests that a previously overlooked factor may be an important cause of stroke onset in the young: excess thyroid hormone, known as hyperthyroidism.
     Two percent of the world's population is known to have excess thyroid hormone release or hyperthyroidism.The symptoms include excessive sweating,weight-loss, sleep problems, and nervousness. In the new study,researchers examined data obtained from 3,176 young adults, ages 18 to 44, followed for 5 years. They were compared with 28,584 patients free of any known thyroid dysfunction. The results showed that the risk of having a stroke with elevated thyroid hormones was increased by 44 percent.
      A significant aspect of this finding is that many people, including competitive bodybuilders, often use thyroid drugs for purposes of losing excess bodyfat. Since the thyroid gland controls the resting metabolic rate, which often drops under dieting conditions, at first it would appear that using thyroid as a dieting aid makes sense. Less known is the fact that the body is sensitive to presence of exogenous or outside thyroid usage, and reacts by downgrading the normal production of thyroid hormone. Thus, the only true way to get an increased metabolic effect from using thyroid drugs is to use doses that are larger than is normally synthesized in the body. The favored type of thyroid drug used for this purpose is Cytomel, which is the active form of thyroid hormone also known as T3. This type of thyroid drug is about 5-7 times more potent than the usually prescibed thyroid drug, Synthroid, which is actually T4, a prohormone form of thyroid.
       The significance of the above is that the usual dose of T3 suggested to promote body fat losses puts you into the hyperthyroidism category,leading to such possible side effects as muscle tremors and a loss of muscle mass. According to this new research, you can now also add a considerably increased risk of stroke to the list of side effects linked to high dose T4 usage.
     Ching-Lin, H, et al. Hyperthyroidism and risk of ischemic stroke in young adults: a 5-year follow-up study.Stroke 2010: in press.

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