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The Thyroid-Lupus Relationship

Posted Sep 18 2009 10:04pm
The thyroid gland makes hormones that act on many functions in the body, from how quickly cells use energy to bone development and nerve cell growth. The thyroid’s production of hormones is regulated by TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), which is made in the pituitary gland.

Autoimmune thyroid disease occurs when the body makes antibodies to thyroid cells. Different antibodies to the thyroid can have different effects. Some can inhibit the thyroid cells, causing an underactive thyroid (thyroiditis); others can stimulate the thyroid cells, leading to an overactive thyroid (Graves’ disease). Many of the symptoms of autoimmune thyroid disease -- fatigue, muscle pain and weakness, specific antibodies -- are also symptoms of lupus. Several studies have suggested that thyroid disease occurs more often in people with lupus than the general population.

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