During the 24th European Congress of Endocrinology in Milan, Italy, researchers presented a study in which they found a link between thyroid dysfunction and COVID-19. Previous studies have found evidence of increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and diabetes after COVID-19.
According to Dr. Ilaria Muller, an assistant professor of endocrinology at the Department of Clinical Sciences and Community Health at the University of Milan, Italy, the purpose of the study was to prove that COVID-19 affected thyroid function and triggered inflammation of the gland, causing thyroiditis.
Dr. Muller explained in the congress that COVID-19 causes a complex combination of adaptive and maladaptive mechanisms, including alterations of thyroid function tests in severely ill people –the cytokine storm– triggering inflammation of the gland.
Image Findings with Restored Thyroid Function
For the study, the team included a total of 100 patients that were admitted to a hospital with severe SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The team examined the patient’s thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels and found a high occurence of thyroiditis. They also evaluated their thyroid hormone levels 12 months later.
The researchers found that about half of the patient’s population still had regions of thyroiditis demonstrable by ultrasound.
Dr. Muller believes that it would be useful for healthcare providers to evaluate thyroid hormone levels in patients with severe COVID-19. Fortunately, the thyroid function is promptly restored with no apparent increase in thyroid autoimmunity, even if the ultrasound showed areas of thyroiditis.
However, some experts believe that a longer follow-up, up to 10 years later would be useful to evaluate the real residual effects and to know if the patients become hypothyroid.
Corrie Pelc. (2022, May 31). Severe COVID-19: Evidence of thyroid dysfunction found 1 year after infection. Medical News Today. Retrieved from: