Conditions

Thyroid Problems Linked to Alzheimer's in Women

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Do you know the feeling of hitting, say, your mid-thirties, and memory starts to sputter? Your once-impeccable memory now sucks, or your lousy memory is worse?

We have a horrible joke in my family that it’s the big “A” setting in – Alzheimer’s Disease.

What’s thyroid got to do with it? Turns out, a lot… TSH that’s either too high or too low correlates with diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Interestingly, not in men. Women in the Framingham Study had double the risk of Alzheimer’s if their TSH was other than 1.0-2.1.

Personally, I was not surprised to find a high TSH to be associated with dementia, but a little disappointed about what I consider to be a rather good TSH, namely 0.4-1.0. While I don’t know the mechanism, I would speculate that it may relate to the increased bone turnover at lower TSH levels – perhaps all those heavy metals most of us are exposed to from the environment are getting liberalized and muck with our brains, setting the stage for the big “A.”

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Other contributing factors to developing the Alzheimer’s? Insulin resistance, ApoE4 genotype, low estradiol, high cortisol and low testosterone. So let’s keep those hormones in the moderate range – not too high, not too low. My great-grandmother told me that 40 years ago: It just makes good sense.

Written by Dr. Sarah Gottfried