Poor thyroid function may diminish kidney dialysis patients’ health and quality of life, a new study suggests.
Hypothyroidism — a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone — is common in dialysis patients, but how it affects them has been unclear.
Dialysis is treatment for kidney failure, where patients need a machine to filter their blood of wastes, salts and extra fluids.
This study included 450 dialysis patients who completed questionnaires every six months and had their thyroid function assessed.
Poor thyroid function was associated with poorer health-related quality of life, including low energy, increased fatigue, reduced physical function and greater pain.
“Given the high prevalence of thyroid dysfunction and low levels of quality of life in dialysis patients, future research is needed to determine the underlying mechanisms of these associations, and whether thyroid hormone replacement can improve the health-related quality of life of this population,” said study author Dr. Connie Rhee, from the University of California, Irvine.
The study was published online July 13 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
“In addition, as the first study in dialysis patients to document an association between [thyroid problems] and low levels of physical function, a strong predictor of death, future studies are needed to determine whether correction of thyroid status … can improve physical function in this population,” Rhee concluded.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on hemodialysis.