Knee Problems Due to the Thyroid

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Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism both have been linked either directly or indirectly to knee (joint) problems. Thyroid hormone levels that are too high or too low can result in swelling and pain in the knees.

Significance

Approximately 5 percent of women and 0.5 percent of men are affected by disorders resulting from thyroid hormone abnormalities and another 17 percent may be undiagnosed.

Function

Thyroid hormones control many aspects of the body including blood calcium levels, excess fats, hormones, oxygen, weight loss, energy and metabolism. When thyroid hormone levels are too high or too low, every part of the body is affected, including the knees.

Considerations

Hypothyroidism can lead to other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome which can cause severe joint pain.

Treatment

Synthetic thyroid hormones are used to treat hypothyroidism. Anti-thyroid hormones or radioactive iodine is used to treat hyperthyroidism. Knee joint problems usually improve with treatment.

Identification

Identifying whether knee problems are due to the thyroid is essential to finding the right treatment. Other systems which may be present if the thyroid is at fault would be muscle aches, constipation or diarrhea, brittle nails, fatigue, flaky skin, thinning hair, weight change, elevated blood cholesterol, irritability, shortness of breath, nervousness, hand tremors or insomnia.

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