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Health

Chronic fatigue syndrome: Does the thyroid play a role?

Friday 23/March/2018 - 01:02 PM
Sada El Balad
Chronic fatigue syndrome remains mysterious to both healthcare professionals and researchers، who have so far been unable to pinpoint its underlying causes. A new study reveals that there may be a link between the condition and having low thyroid hormone levels. Medics Today said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)، between 836،000 and 2.5 million people in the United States might currently live with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)، which is also known as myalgic encephalomyelitis.

CFS is characterized by an overwhelming sense of fatigue، which may also be accompanied by pain، dizziness، and impaired concentration.

Despite the fact that this condition is often tied to significantly decreased quality of life، many people do not get an official diagnosis، and those who do might not always receive adequate treatment; the causes of CFS are still unknown.

That is why research about CFS is ongoing، with investigators striving to uncover the underlying biological mechanisms that characterize this condition.

Recently، researchers from the University Medical Center Groningen and the European Laboratory of Nutrients in Bunnik — both in the Netherlands — in collaboration with colleagues from the Healthy Institute in Madrid، Spain، launched a new theory.

They believe that CFS onset could have something to do with the levels of key thyroid hormones. This occurred to lead researcher Dr. Begoña Ruiz-Núñez and team because they noticed that، like CFS، hypothyroidism — an endocrinological condition wherein the thyroid gland does not release enough essential hormones — is also characterized by intense fatigue and a sense of lethargy.

In their new study — whose results are now published in the journal Frontiers in Endocrinology — Ruiz-Núñez and team explain that CFS and thyroidal disease have a number of overlapping physiological characteristics.

Their hope is that the similarities — as well as differences — that they uncovered between these two conditions could eventually lead to more targeted treatments for CFS.

Low levels of thyroid hormones
In hypothyroidism، the thyroid gland — which is situated in the neck — is unable to produce enough thyroid hormones، which help with the regulation of many of the body's metabolic functions. When not enough of these hormones are released، the body becomes more sluggish and is unable to function at its usual speed.

Under such circumstances، to try to boost the thyroid gland's activity، the pituitary gland — which is found at the base of the brain — releases higher levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).

The researchers behind the new study note that in CSF، as in hypothyroidism، the thyroid gland fails to release adequate levels of thyroid hormones. However، in this case، no extra TSH is released into the system.

Following on from these clues، Ruiz-Núñez and colleagues inferred that CFS could manifest as a result of low thyroid hormone levels، independently from thyroidal disease.

To test this hypothesis، the researchers worked with 197 subjects، of whom 98 had been diagnosed with CFS and 99 had no outstanding health condition. The latter group of participants acted as the control group.

Edited by rehab sayed

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