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Can total thyroidectomy affect the results of a blood alcohol level?

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Pediatrician, Infectious Diseases
Practicing since : 2005
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I have come across numerous amounts of literature about the alteration in the process of alcohol metabolism in patients post total thyroidectomy. Is it true that this type of surgery can affect the results of a blood alcohol level reading?
Posted Thu, 11 Apr 2013 in Thyroid Problem and Hormonal Problems
Answered by Dr. Hema Yadav 3 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
Yes there are many studies which have shown a probability of altered alcohol ( ethanol ) metabolism post thyroidectomy .A defect in the transfer of reducing equivalents from the cytosol to the mitochondria of the cells appears to limit the rate of ethanol elimination in thyroidectomized animals with increased liver alcohol dehydrogenase activity. That is , post thyroid removal the liver shows increased activity of an enzyme ( chemical ) named alcohol dehydrogenase which normally takes part in alcohol metabolism ( breakdown ) causing increased alcohol metabolism however there is not much effect on alcohol elimination from the body . In addition patients on synthroid may or may not have a drastic change in the alcohol levels due to control of synthroid ( t3 ) on the metabolism .
There are many patients who experience difference in their level of consumption and effect of alcohol ( symptoms ) post thyroidectomy however I cannot say for sure wether it has a generalised effect ( like increasing blood alcohol reading ) in all such patients.
Hope I have answered your query.
Please let me know if you have any further doubts.
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