Tags: Thyroid Disorders | thyroid | heart | health

Thyroid and Heart Health: What You Need to Know

By    |   Friday, 19 Feb 2016 03:01 PM

Disorders of the thyroid gland, a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, have been linked to many other health conditions. Some of those links are between the thyroid and heart health.

The thyroid gland produces important hormones that affect the body’s metabolism. If the thyroid produces too much hormone, a condition known as hyperthyroidism results, causing a fast metabolism. Too little thyroid hormone results in a slow metabolism caused by hypothyroidism.

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According to a talk by cardiologist J. Malcolm O. Arnold for the Thyroid Foundation of Canada, both conditions of the thyroid can have an affect on heart health. Too much thyroid hormone can speed up the heart causing a rapid heart rate, or tachycardia. Tachycardia is normally not noticed by the patient unless it becomes severe enough to cause heart palpitations or a sensation of the heart pounding within the chest. Prolonged overstimulation of the heart muscle can lead to atrial fibrillation, or a lack of coordination between parts of the heart when beating which can result in an irregular heart beat, Arnold said. It can also lead to systolic hypertension, or high blood pressure over time.

Hypothyroidism can lead to many heart health complications, too. Hormone Health Network explains that the primary thyroid hormones, T3 and T4, help blood flow easily by relaxing the muscles of the blood vessels. Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to low heart rate, high blood pressure, enlarged heart, and increased stiffness in the walls of the blood vessels.

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In addition to slow heart rate, untreated hypothyroidism can lead to high cholesterol which can increase the risk of heart disease, according to WebMD. As a further complication, elderly people who develop hypothyroidism are already are at risk for heart disease and an underactive thyroid makes matters worse.

The Thyroid Foundation of Canada points out that the primary concern with treatment should be to focus on the thyroid disease itself, since it can cause far-reaching heart health concerns. Permanent heart damage is rare unless the thyroid disorder is untreated for long periods of time or is very severe.

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Disorders of the thyroid gland, a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the neck, have been linked to many other health conditions. Some of those links are between the thyroid and heart health.
thyroid, heart, health
379
2016-01-19
Friday, 19 Feb 2016 03:01 PM
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