Thyroid UK

Links to other illnesses

I have been nearly diagnosed with a handful of new diseases and wondered if they could all be linked. I have had Oseoarthritis for about 8 years and Fybromyalgia for 2 years. However I have just been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis and high cholesterol, all within the last month. I would be grateful if anyone has any views on whether they could all be linked !

30 Replies

Hi and Welcome. I would say that your conditions are linked. RA is auto-immune - so have they tested your Thyroid Anti-bodies ? - maybe you have auto-immune Thyroiditis - called Hashimotos. It is the most common of thyroid ailments and when you have one auto-immune thyroid condition you often suffer another. I have Hashimotos and Crohns.

Your cholesterol is certainly linked. Do not be tempted into taking any medication for raised cholesterol. There is absolutely no research that suggests it can benefit women. In the past before thyroid blood testing was the norm - people with raised cholesterol had their thyroids treated and that reduced it. Happened to me too !

Please read the website of Dr Malcolm Kendrick - he gets into the detail of the research and has some EXCELLENT blogs. He also wrote the book - The Cholesterol Con.

I too was diagnosed with Fibro - long before the Hashimotos. Fibro has been discussed many times on this forum and is so often linked to LOW thyroid hormones - especially T3. When your thyroid is poorly diagnosed and treated it can put a huge strain on the adrenals - so adrenal issues come into play too.

What treatment are they giving you for the Thyroid ? Whatever the dose - you will need further testing in 6/8 weeks to see what adjustments are needed.

You will also be LOW in B12 - Ferritin - VitD - Folate and Iron. So have them all tested and they need to be optimal. Never accept normal as a result. Please obtain copies of all your results with ranges so people can comment more efficiently.

Am not a medic - just a fellow sufferer who has spent a lot of time reading and learning :-)


Thank you for your reply. It confirmed what I thought. I am currently on 50mcg of levothyroxine. They have put me on cholesterol tablets but I will certainly discuss the need for them when I see my gp again. I had all my bloods done for iron etc done recently and they are ok at the moment but I know to keep an eye on it now 😀


GPs sometimes say results are OK when what they mean is they are "within range". However, that does not mean that they are "optimal", ie, as good as they should be for you to feel healthy. If you ask the receptionist for a print out of your recent bloods people here will comment on them. GPs do not have time to study blood results that are within parameters but neverthless may be beginning to flag up a problem.

Here is a bit from a medical paper carried out in Saudi Arabia on conditions which relate to RA - 2014, I think.

"A cross-sectional study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis in three centers in Saudi Arabia was carried out......40 patients were included. The most common comorbidities [associated conditions] were hypertension [high blood pressure] 122 (35.9%), diabetes 105 (30.9%), osteoporosis 88 (25.8%), and dyslipidemia [high cholesterol would be in this category] in 66 (19.4%)."

Definitely I would suggest to your GP that you might discontinue statins until your hypo is under control .. s/he will probably agree to this.

Just looking still for a figure for the overlap between RA and hypo


I would advise you to obtain copies of the so-called OK results :-) They may not be ! I would also read up on Statins before taking them. They can be responsible for diabetes and yes a host of other conditions. Information is power and your GP receives huge dollops of cash for prescribing them. BIG Pharma Rules I am sorry to say ! - so he won't be listening to a patient. They have already missed your Thyroid issue for years - so now it's time to take control of your own health. Doubt if your GP will acknowledge the link between thyroid and cholesterol. You will have to be well read beforehand :-)

You can click onto my name and read my Edited Profile to learn I have had a bumpy ride to wellness. Now take care of myself mostly !

If you type Statins into the Search Box on the Green Bar above - then press ENTER on your keyboard - you will see how often the item is discussed.

Glad they tested the Ferritin - Folate - Iron - B12 - VitD - very unusual. Please let us know the results in a new post. B12 needs to be around a 1000 and VitD at a good level and not bumping along the bottom. Docs are obsessed with ranges and being JUST in range satisfies them....

Good Luck !


Thank you I have read your profile and you have had a bumpy ride.

I can honestly say I haven't felt ' well ' for probably 6 years now. I am hoping I can finally get to the bottom of it and start to feel well.

Once again thank you. I now feel enlightened and certainly have some questions for my GP.


Keep well away from statins Tracey63anne, Kidney failure and cataracts are two side effects, my Mum had both and is now on kidney dialysis three times a week.

We persuaded her off of Statins and onto vitamins and minerals she was far better and able to ween herself off of many other prescribed pills.

Statins are a dangerous con to make big money,

Google:- 'Are Statins Dangerous.'

Heart Doctors are reporting that more patients are dying from LOW and NORMAL cholesterol.

They are now saying that having HIGH cholesterol, you are now less likely to have a heart attack.


...and be ready for a fight !

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Hello and welcome. I think they probably are. High cholesterol is closely linked to hypo, and it should fall once your hypo is treated. Fibro may have been a misdiagnosis because your hypo was being missed. Has your vitamin D level been tested? Do you think you may have any gut problems? Gut problems leading to malabsorption of minerals and vitamins are extremely common in hypothyroidism - so common I sometimes wonder if they are universal in hypo. And all auto immune conditions seem to be linked and overlap. Have you been tested to exclude celiac disease, for example?

Do you have any test results you could post, with ranges?

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Hiya and ty. The only results I know. Are linked to my RA. My ESR was 72 and my CRP was 248. I intend to get all my other ones at my next visit.

My vitamin D has been low for about 3 years so I am already on adcal d3 for that.

I will post results of my tests when I get them


I think the Adcal will be too low a dose.


How much D3 is in your Adcal? What does the bottle say? Sometimes there's a lot of calcium but not much D3.

Just researching the links still for you - please don't get depressed!! You are now amongst supportive friends. This is from a v g paper but I'm too much of a dinosaur to be able to copy the link, if you put a sentence into Google the whole thing will come up...


The manifestations of RA are not confined to symmetrical inflammation of the joints: in approximately 40% of cases, non-articular tissues and organs - like skin, eye, lung, heart, kidney,

blood vessels, the nervous system or bone marrow - are involved. (24) Moreover, there is accumulating evidence for an increased risk of comorbid conditions like osteoporosis and

cardiovascular disease (CVD)..".. there is increasing evidence that the chronic inflammatory burden of RA induces the onset of traditional cardiovascular

risk factors like insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, hypertension and dyslipidemia." (since RA is an inflammatory condition, your serum ferritin may look fine even though you may be quite low in iron really. It would be unwise nevertheless to supplement iron until the inflammatory condition is controlled.)

In general, patients suffering from an

autoimmune disease have a strong hereditary susceptibility for other autoimmune diseases and

higher incidences of autoantibodies have been detected in their relatives.(60) Intriguingly, different family members may develop the same disease entity in totally different organs and disease

constellations. This diversity and broad spectrum of manifestation of autoimmune disorders is called

the “mosaic of autoimmunity”. In this context, patients with similar genetic, immunological,

hormonal and environmental risk factors may eventually evoke different autoimmune diseases.(61-

63) The combination of RA and autoimmune thyroiditis was already recognized half a century

ago.(64-66) More recently, the coexistence of RA and hypothyroidism was reassessed, but data on

this relationship remains sparse.(67;68)"

ie, think about your family, have any of them autoimmune diseases? The bit about "remains sparse" is doctor speak for "At the moment we haven't a clue." A sentence few GPs dare utter.

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Ok I am on 10mcg of vitamin d3 a day.

I have had to deal with this for so long I am past depressed. Did that a few years ago. Now I am just eager for knowledge. I thank you so much for the research you have done it is very helpful.

I am looking forward to tackling my GP. So the more knowledge I have when I do this the better.


OK, you're going to have to forgive me, cos I'm getting a bit OCD over your question, which I haven't researched before.

This female researcher in Holland, Hennie Raterman,

has looked at this specific issue, RA and hypo. Men don't seem to have this overlap, in her study. It's a girl thing.

"The main conclusion of the present study is an almost threefold enhanced prevalence of clinical

hypothyroidism in secondary care female RA patients in comparison with the general population. In female RA patients, clinical hypothyroidism was associated with a fourfold higher risk of CVD in

comparison with euthyroid female RA patients. "

SO .. heart problems v closely associated if you have hypo and RA, thank God you have finally been diagnosed....

But the picture is complicated, which is prob why it has been missed by (doubtless non female) researchers....

"The present study shows a prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism in female RA patients which is lower [!!!!!} than in a sex and age matched general population. This finding might be explained by the pyramid hypothesis. This hypothesis is based on the observation that subclinical hypothyroidism will develop into clinically manifest hypothyroidism in approximately one quarter of the cases.

Facilitating factors for this development are old age, female gender and higher titers of antibodies for

thyroid peroxidase (TPOab).(19-23) This progression into a clinical hypothyroidism is also called the “disease pyramid” theory. Autoimmune diseases such as RA may accelerate this progression of subclinical disease into a clinical disease, which might explain the lower prevalence of subclinical

hypothyroidism in RA and the higher prevalence of hypothyroidism in female RA patients in

comparison with women of the general population."

OK, reading further, will post a new msg if I find anything key becos this one is already ludicrously long. But it is clear already that you are in a sub category, and I think you should print this research piece out for your GP.


"this is the first study demonstrating that hypothyroidism in female RA patients is

associated with a higher risk of CVD in comparison with euthyroid female RA patients who have an

already established increased cardiovascular risk"

Ask your receptionist for a print out of your thyroid antibodies, they must surely have already been tested, if not, demand that they are.

You need to know if there is any good research evidence that statins reduce CVD risk in your particular situation. You have a consultant, I assume?


I have a RA consultant but have only had my first consultation. Not due to see him again until mid February.


I'd say definately linked - all auto immune. I have hypothyroidism and started young with osteoarthritis (23), later on I got severe Achilles tendinitis and heart pains. It was one thing after another by my 40's until in my 50's I demanded my thyroid was tested and it was discovered I was very hypothyroid. All those weird problems have slowly vanished with treatment but the oestroarthritis in my neck has started up again ☹ otherwise I feel almost as good as new. I gave up on Levo as I never felt fully well on it and switched to NDT (ThyroidS) on which I started to feel much better almost immediately.


Sometimes we are diagnosed with diseases/problems only because our TSH hasn't reached the magic 10 in the UK (many other countries diagnosed when TSH is around 5 with symptoms). This is a link:


A higher cholesterol level is a clinical symptom of hypothyroidism and reduces when on an optimum of thyroid hormones.


Ty I have looked at these articles and found them informative


I have a friend in Romania who has polyarthritis and phoned me yesterday to tell me she's feeling better after starting a self treatment using .... gelatin. She dilutes half a packet in water in the evening and drinks it in the morning and slowly her inflamed toes and fingers are getting back to normal. I know you've asked a different question but wonder whether this might not help you with oneof your problems. Also it might help those who suffer from hair loss too.

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Hi, for your vitamin D3- you should be on 5000iu a day, raising to 10,000. These should be gel caps and taken with K2 as this puts the D3 into the bones. The D3 should be taken with some fat. Magnesium - malate and citrate. Epsom salt baths good.

What is your B12 level?


I don't know all my blood results at the moment. That is my next mission to get a copy of them


Still looking for the incidence of celiac with RA. However, anecdotally many people with hypoT think they improve on a gluten free diet (and I have hypoT and am definitely gluten sensitive, though prob. not celiac).

I see that gluten has also been suggested as a factor in some cases of arthritis -

Have you tried a completely gluten free diet for a month to see if you get a reaction when you go back on to it?


I must admit I did think about it but have never acted on it. Maybe now xmas is over it may be a good time to try


I am hypothyroid and recently found out this is because of a faulty gene (DIO2) not an autoimmune issue. So am now aware why I have had insufficient T3 available to me which has made me feel unwell and to develop many new health problems. I have only ever been offered T4 Levothyroxine. I am now waiting to see an endo to hopefully be prescribed T3 or NDT.

I was recently diagnosed with osteoarthritis at the neck and I have noticed it in my fingers too. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find there is a link, but have not found any literature to confirm this as most seems to focus on RA and the auto immune link. There is quite a bit of info about osteoporosis, but that is a different health problem.

I also have a high cholesterol and that is linked to being hypothyroid. Recently I have begun to suffer from what seems to be Trigger finger and cramp in my finger. I also had recent problems with one eye which was diagnosed as Molloscum Contagiosum (sounds like something from Harry Potter!)


I also have osteoarthritis and have already had both knees replaced due to this some five years ago. I would be at all surprised to hear of any links with many conditions. The more I am researching the more I am learning. I don't think even the health professionals even know the full extent of the links.

Maybe it would be good to do a poll of people and find out what other conditions they have. If there is a high percentage then surely there must be a link. Who knows? Can't see anyone doing that any time soon

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I would also like a poll to find out how many people are affected by other illnesses too Tracey63anne.

Any chance Admin?

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Well I tried to sort one but people were too quick to criticise rather offer assistance so I have deleted it sorry I did try.


That's a real shame :( We are all here to find answers to our questions, to be supportive and to increase knowledge and awareness aren't we?

Thanks for trying anyway Tracey63anne :)

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You will have to get into the habit of requesting or demanding a full printout of your lab results (every time you're tested for anything) and say that you also want the associated lab reference ranges.

The statement/PDF (below) is signed by approx 50 scientists who've each studied vitamin D for many years. The illnesses and diseases that are listed in their signed statement are just a fraction of what inadequate Vit D levels will cause/exacerbate.


Thanks. I have got a print out of all my blood results for December. I will certainly be asking every time I have a ready from now on


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