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Can thyroidectomy surgery affect the results of a blood alcohol level reading?

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Practicing since : 2000
Answered : 634 Questions
I really appreciated Dr. Luchuo's response to my question. Would it be okay to ask the opinion of other doctors on this panel on the question - "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 Wed, 3 Apr 2013 in Thyroid Problem and Hormonal Problems
Answered by Dr. Payman Hajiazim 2 hours later
Hi there, thanks for asking. If your thyroid function has been adjusted by a supplementary medication for thyroid, you should not worry, since it is regulating all the functions of thyroid hormone. However, there are some studies that show if somebody has low thyroid function, alcohol will metabolized more in his liver, but less in his stomach. The best thing is experience it little by little to see which level of alcohol is tolerated in the new situation. If somebody is low thyroid because of any reason, his brain will be more sensitive to the side effects of alcohol as well. It means that the reflexes will be affected more since low thyroid function will dull all the functions of the brain. Let me know if you have any question.
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Follow-up: Can thyroidectomy surgery affect the results of a blood alcohol level reading? 2 hours later
A doctor on your forum posted this.. Do you agree?

"It has been described that thyroid hormones affect the metabolism of Alcohol dehydrogenase, the enzyme involved in metabolizing or removing alcohol from the body. The results of the blood alcohol levels readings can actually be grossly altered by this surgery. Most thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) reduce the activity of alcohol dehydrogenase. In patients with post with a post total thyroidectomy state therefore, we can have most of the time false negative blood alcohol levels or decreased blood alcohol levels since this enzyme is not adequately inhibited as normal. In some cases, when the amount of thyroid replacement therapy becomes excessive or higher, this enzyme is excessively inhibited, and we have excess or false positive blood alcohol levels.
This has been sufficiently described in scientific and clinical medicine literature."
Answered by Dr. Payman Hajiazim 38 minutes later
Hi there, thanks fr asking. That is true, since most part of the metabolism occur in the liver. It is better to be told: true positive alcohol level instead of false since it is really higher than normal if somebody takes excess amount of thyroid medication which has been replaced for hormone and vice versa for deficiency of the hormone we will have less than usual alcohol level.
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