1. Health
Your Thyroid Up in Smoke
Cigarette Smoking's Little Known Links to Thyroid Disease

  Related Resources
• Hypothyroid But Still Don't Feel Well
• How I Quit Smoking
• Does Quitting Smoking Trigger Thyroid Disease?
 
 From Other Guides
• Great American Smokeout - 2002
• Smoking Cessation, From About's "Quit Smoking" Guide
 
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Smoking and Thyroid Disease/ Connections
• Great American Smokeout: American Cancer Society
 

by Mary J. Shomon

Read all the great articles in the
About.com Great American Smokeout: 2002 Special!

We all know that cigarette smoking is bad for us, but few people realize that there are significant connections between smoking and the development or worsening of various thyroid conditions, including hypothyroidism, Graves' disease, and thyroid eye disease?

Thyroid conditions affect an estimated 13 million Americans, many of them undiagnosed, and the majority of them women. An underactive thyroid cause symptoms such as fatigue, weight gain and depression. An overactive thyroid can cause anxiety, panic attacks, high blood pressure/pulse, and bulging eyes, among other symptoms. Having a thyroid problem also puts you at increased risk for heart disease, obesity, and depression.

What are some of the thyroid/smoking connections?
  • Studies show that smokers are more likely to have thyroid enlargement, a potential sign of thyroid disease.

  • The longer and more you've smoked, the more risk of thyroid disease you face.

  • Smoking increases the risk of Graves' Disease, particularly among those with autoimmune thyroid disease.

  • Smokers were more likely to progress to more serious thyroid eye disease than nonsmokers. (Treatment for thyroid eye disease is four times more effective in nonsmokers than smokers.)

  • Smoking increases the risk and severity of hypothyroidism in patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
What Should I Know About Quitting?

If you smoke, the potential for developing a thyroid problem -- and the associated weight gain, fatigue, depression and even bulging eye disease -- are just more important health reasons to quit.

If you have thyroid disease and are a smoker, you should quit smoking now!! Smoking can worsen your existing thyroid problem.

If you have Graves' Disease or Thyroid Eye Disease, you absolutely must quit smoking to help prevent further progression of problems or worsening of your eyeproblems.

How to Quit

There are many effective ways to quit, and you can find out about them all at Smoking Cessation guide Christine Rowley's excellent Website here at About.

How I Quit Smoking

For my own story, read how I personally quit smoking in July of 1995, after smoking for 15 years.

More Information

For more information about the connection between smoking and thyroid disease, as well as links to research and stop-smoking resources, read Smoking and Thyroid Disease Connections




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