People who suffer from an underactive thyroid are making the condition worse by smoking, researchers have discovered.
The link between smoking and thyroid abnormalities has finally been established, believe researchers from the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland.
They conclude that the condition worsens as more cigarettes are smoked, although they do not go so far as to claim that smoking causes thyroid problems in the first place.
Their conclusions were based on the study of 138 normal women and 138 women suffering hypothyroidism, when thyroid gland activity reduces. They discovered that those in the hypothyroid group were reporting increasing changes in their meta-bolism, the more they smoked.
But while these findings may be viewed as an important breakthrough, they do not explain the full story. Other researchers believe that the effects of smoking are regulated by the levels of iodine in the body, the quality of the cigarette, and the degree of the thyroid problem (New Eng J Med, October 12, 1995).