Some people might think that thyroid diseases do not pose any serious threat to our health. A lot of people with thyroid conditions tend to do away with proper treatment and medicines. There are even some people who would not bother getting a diagnosis. The thyroid gland is located around our windpipe. Its main function is to secrete thyroid hormones that regulate growth, the rate of metabolism, digestive function, skin tone, and muscle function.
Early diagnosis of thyroid disorders is very important to control and limit its side effects. But aside from that, a very important reason why you need diagnosis and treatment is because thyroid disorder is highly associated with cardiac problems. Because of thyroid disease, any person with heart problems can experience worsening of its symptoms.
The usual reason behind any thyroid related disease is because of the abnormal production of thyroid hormones. Too many hormones lead to hyperthyroidism and too little result to hypothyroidism. Most thyroid diseases stem from the too much or lack of hormones. Both conditions can affect the heart.
Effects of hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism is the condition when you have too much thyroid hormone production. The excess thyroid hormones can lead to a whipping effect to your heart due to increased force of contraction and amount of oxygen needed by the heart. As an effect, it can also increase your heart rate. If you already have an existing heart problem, the whipping effect is something you would not want. It is as if your heart is working more than it needs.
The common cardiac symptoms due to hyperthyroidism include the following:
Tachycardia or a fast heart rate can be attributed to an existing hyperthyroidism condition. If you experience faster heart rate, the condition of hyperthyroidism must be ruled out first especially if you have heart conditions.
- Premature ventricular contraction
It is a type of ventricular arrhythmia characterized by extra abnormal heartbeats in your ventricles. It can manifest through unusual palpitations even when at rest.
- Systolic hypertension
Because of the forceful cardiac contraction, the systolic blood pressure increases causing a systolic hypertension
It is the shortness of breath usually experienced even with mild exertion. If you experience this regularly, it can be a sign of skeletal muscle weakness due to hyperthyroidism or even worsening of heart failure
- Heart Failure
Hyperthyroidism usually does not directly cause heart failure. But if there is an existing heart disease, hyperthyroidism can contribute to the worsening of heart failure making it difficult to treat.
Treatment of hyperthyroidism
There is no ultimate way to treat hyperthyroidism. In most cases, doctors opt to remove the overactive thyroid gland using radioactive iodine. Without the thyroid gland, the patient is advised to take thyroid hormone pills as a replacement. In this situation, it is no more about cost than it is doing everything necessary for effective treatment.
Effects of hypothyroidism on the heart
When you have a hypothyroidism condition, there will be a significant decrease in your thyroid hormone levels. As a result, it causes weaker pumping of the heart. It will also prevent your heart from fully relaxing after every heartbeat.
The common cardiac symptoms due to hypothyroidism include the following:
It is characterized by shortness of breath even when not engaging in strenuous activities. It is a sign of weakness in the skeletal muscles and may be caused by worsening of heart failure.
The heart rate is usually regulated by the thyroid hormone. With less thyroid hormone, the heartbeat becomes slower. It may result in worsening of heart failure through the manifestation of frequent premature ventricular contraction.
Edema or swelling is caused by a worsening heart failure. When paired with hypothyroidism, it can result in myxedema.
- Coronary Artery Disease
The increase of LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol in the body associated with hypothyroidism may accelerate any existing coronary artery disease.
Treatment of hypothyroidism
It is usually treated using thyroid hormone medication. Consistent and adequate treatment is necessary to see improvement and reduction of its symptoms.