Home » Thyroid Health: Can Thyroid Disorders Affect Your Heart?

Thyroid Health: Can Thyroid Disorders Affect Your Heart?

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 The primary function of your thyroid gland is releasing hormones to control your metabolism.The hormones it releases regulate numerous important functions of your body like cholesterol levels, breathing, and heart rate.

When your thyroid gland does not function as well as it supposed to, you can develop thyroid-related health problems. These health problems can significantly affect your cardiac wellness. Irregularity with the thyroid gland’s activities often results in either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. 

Hyperthyroidism is a medical condition wherein the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of hormone thyroxine.

On the other hand, hypothyroidism is when your thyroid gland is unable to produce enough amount of hormone thyroxine.   

Due to these thyroid conditions, your body’s metabolism becomes erratic. This can lead to adverse effects to different vital organs of your body. One of the organs that are usually affected is your heart. 

How Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism Affect Your Heart

The thyroid gland plays an important role in your bodily functions. If it does not function properly, it can significantly influence your daily life.  

The hormones it releases affect the organs in your body, which includes your heart.  The hormones influence your heartbeat activity. This includes how fast or slow your heart beats and the level of force it uses to pump blood throughout your body.

Due to the thyroid’s function, both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can lead to serious cardiac problems. Here are the two heart conditions that problems with your thyroid can lead to:

  • Tachycardia can be developed if you have hyperthyroidism. It is an ailment that affects your heartbeat. It causes your heart to move much faster than it is supposed to when your heart is at rest. There are several situations wherein your heart will normally increase like:
    • Doing physically strenuous activities like running, lifting, or swimming
    • Experiencing physiological responses in case of trauma or stress

When you are not doing or experiencing these, your normal heart rate as an adult should be from 60 to a 100 beats per minute while at rest.

Tachycardia can cause you to experience several physiological symptoms like a feeling of palpitations and a racing heartbeat.

These symptoms can lead to alarming health conditions, which include:

  • Cardiac arrest,
  • Heart failure, and
  • Stroke

When the presence of hyperthyroidism is confirmed, its treatment often leads to a significant positive change to the heart symptoms you have experienced.

  • Bradycardia is another heart condition that can be caused from having thyroid problems, specifically hypothyroidism or having low thyroid hormones. It causes your heart to beat at a significantly lower pace than it’s supposed to.

You will experience slow heart rate when you are elderly or at least 60 years of age. Another situation where your heart does not beat as fast is when you are sleeping. For adults, the general rule is when you have less than 60 beats per minute, it will qualify as bradycardia.

One of the most harmful effects of a slow heart rate is insufficient blood flow to the brain. When this happens, your cognitive functions are affected. You may experience the following:

  • Weakness
  • Easily tired
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Slurred speech

When bradycardia is left untreated or is not diagnosed immediately, it can cause:

  • Chest pains
  • Heart failure
  • Low blood pressure
  • High blood pressure

Different Tests to Monitor Your Thyroid Health

After going through the effects of bradycardia and tachycardia, you will realize the importance of keeping tabs on the health of your thyroid gland. It may seem insignificant due to its size and appearance, but it plays an important role in maintaining a healthy heart.

There are several tests you can undergo to make sure that your thyroid is in good condition:

  • Blood test to determine thyroid problems
  • EKG and ultrasound to assess your heart activities

Results will determine what medications and treatments would be most suitable for you.

Consult your doctor immediately if you have been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and are experiencing the following symptoms: palpitations, chest discomfort, or shortness in breath. Don’t readily dismiss these symptoms but have them checked promptly.

When do you know you have a higher risk of thyroid-related health problems? You may go through this list and check instances where you will likely experience thyroid issues:

  • When you reach 60 years of age, you are more prone to thyroid-health issues.
  • When either or both of your parents have thyroid problems, chances are you will have it too.
  • If you are a woman, you are more susceptible to have thyroid problems. Only one man in every eight women is likely to have thyroid problems.
  • When your health history indicates that you have type-1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, or premature gray hair

Your overall health is important and knowing the different functions of your body will make you understand what each is doing to let you function effectively. You should always consult trusted experts to address specific health problems that you may be experiencing. A proper diagnosis will lead to an opportunity to treat your body accordingly.

The thyroid can definitely and significantly affect your heart. When not diagnosed and treated correctly, it can ultimately lead to harmful heart conditions.

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