What You Need To Know About Heart Palpitations And Thyroid Health
When I was dealing with Graves disease, one of the most prominent symptoms I experienced was heart palpitations.; The same is true with many of my patients with hyperthyroidism and Graves disease, although occasionally Ill also have people with hypothyroidism and Hashimotos tell me that theyre experiencing palpitations.; While thyroid hormone imbalances can cause heart palpitations, there can be numerous other causes.; In this blog post Ill discuss many of these causes, when you should be concerned about heart palpitations, and towards the end Ill discuss some natural treatment solutions.
It makes sense to begin by discussing what palpitations are.; Here are some common descriptions of heart palpitations :
- An abnormally rapid or irregular beating of the heart
- A skipped beat and/or rapid fluttering in the chest
- A pounding sensation in the chest or neck
- A flip-flopping sensation in the chest
The good news is that the cause of palpitations is usually benign, although sometimes they can be a sign of a life-threatening condition.; Many people get diagnosed with hyperthyroidism because of the heart palpitations theyre experiencing.; In other words, prior to getting diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, many people will decide to get checked by a medical doctor mainly because theyre experiencing heart palpitations, and will then find out that they have hyperthyroidism.
What Can Cause Heart Palpitations?
When Are Palpitations a Concern?
Evaluation of Heart Palpitations
How Too Much Thyroid Hormone Affects Your Heart
An overactive thyroid gland hyperthyroidism can cause the irregular heartbeat of atrial fibrillation.
The thyroid, which is a small gland in your neck, could throw your heart out of its natural rhythm and increase your risk for heart failure or stroke. This is because thyroid hormone has a profound effect on the hearts function and may cause atrial fibrillation.
About 2.7 million Americans have atrial fibrillation, according to the American Heart Association . It’s;the most common arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat that can have many different causes.
Diagnosing and treating atrial fibrillation is important because the condition can cause blood to pool in the heart and form a dangerous clot, increasing stroke risk fivefold, according to the National Stroke Association.
But to get the best treatment, you need to know the origins of this condition. Atrial fibrillation can be caused by several factors, including underlying heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and older age, according to the AHA.
What Is The Outlook For People With Heart Palpitations And Anxiety
Many people have heart palpitations caused by situational anxiety. You can use relaxation strategies to successfully manage this anxiety. These strategies can slow down your heart rate in the moment.;
If you have heart palpitations caused by chronic anxiety disorders, there is hope. You can also manage your anxiety with proper treatment. A good team of healthcare providers can help you build a coping strategy.;
If you suspect another health condition is causing palpitations with or without anxiety talk to your provider about treatment. To relieve your symptoms, your provider will treat the cause. You may also benefit from anxiety-relieving therapies.
Read Also: Is Thrush A Sign Of Underactive Thyroid
Why Do Heart Palpitations Happen
Your heart beats because it has the very important job of sending oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to every part of your body, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute . It also sends the carbon dioxide your body produces as a waste product to your lungs so you can expel it. When theres a glitch in this system, you might experience a palpitation.
Typically, your heart knows when to squeeze based on electrical impulses from a group of cells known as your sinoatrial node, according to the NHLBI. These cells are housed in your hearts right chamber, also known as its right atrium. If your SA node starts sending wonky electrical impulses, you might experience heart palpitations.
The Common Sinus Bradycardia Symptoms You Need To Know
The diagnosis of sinus bradycardia requires an ECG showing the resting pulse rate is lower than 60 beats per minute. This slower than normal heart rate causes insufficient blood flow throughout the body causing symptoms such as:
- Swelling in the legs
- Fatigue on waking due to reduced metabolic activity during the night
Note: Feeling faint or dizzy spells are a sign your heart rate is abnormally slow, and your brain is not getting enough oxygen. If you are concerned about bradycardia symptoms you should seek immediate medical attention and get your heart checked.
Read Also: How To Improve Your Thyroid Without Medicine
Causes Of Heart Palpitations
Although there are several causes for heart palpitations, certain traits, conditions or habits may raise your risk for the condition. These are known as risk factors and include:
Non-modifiable risk factors: These factors are irreversible and cannot be changed. The more of these risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing heart palpitations:
Modifiable risk factors: These factors can be modified, treated or controlled through medications or lifestyle changes.
- Excessive amounts of alcohol consumption over the years.
- Excessive amount of caffeine or other stimulants.
- Extreme emotional stress.
- Extreme physical exertion
- Long history of cigarette smoking and/or drug use
- Dehydration: when you use or lose more fluid than you take in, and your body doesn’t have enough water and other fluids to carry out its normal functions.
- Certain cold and cough mediations .
Other conditions that may contribute to development of heart palpitations:
- Thyroid disease: a condition that is caused by the over or under function of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is an essential organ for producing thyroid hormones, which maintains the bodys metabolism.
- Heart surgery
- Heart arrhythmias
Exercise Moderately At Least Two And A Half Hours Each Week
If youd rather go hard, you can get the same heart-healthy benefits with 75 minutes of vigorous activity. Exercise intensity is unique to you. Exercise thats moderate intensity for you may be vigorous for someone else. Moderate exercise should feel somewhat difficult, but you should still be able to carry on a conversation. Vigorous exercise should feel very challenging and youll only be able to get a few words out at a time between breaths.
Read Also: Is Ginger And Garlic Good For Thyroid
Are Premature Ventricular Contractions Life Threatening
If someone has normal heart function and no evidence of structural heart disease, the PVCs are a nuisance, but benign. If the PVCs are so symptomatic as to be disruptive, try eliminating all of the factors such as caffeine, certain foods, stress, before considering any treatment with medications. When we do treat with medications, we usually try to use simple medications such as beta-blockers first before going on to specific anti-arrhythmic agents. Very frequently, this is enough to improve patients symptoms.
Symptoms Of The Menopause
Most women will experience menopausal symptoms. Some of these can be quite severe and have a significant impact on your everyday activities.
Common symptoms include:
- reduced sex drive
- problems with memory and concentration
Menopausal symptoms can begin months or even years before your periods stop and last around 4 years after your last period, although some women experience them for much longer.
Recommended Reading: What Does It Mean When A Thyroid Nodule Is Solid
What Do Heart Palpitations Feel Like
Heart palpitations may feel like a pounding or fluttering in your chest. They can feel like your heart is skipping a beat or has an extra beat. Sometimes people can become more aware of and sensitive to their heartbeat. Some may start to notice palpitations more often or feel their heartbeat in their throat or neck. Sometimes palpitations are more noticeable when youre lying down at night or when being quiet and still.
Cocaine And Other Street Drugs
Illegal drugs like amphetamines, cocaine, and ecstasy are dangerous to the heart. Cocaine boosts blood pressure, raises heart rate, and damages the heart muscle. Amphetamines stimulate the nervous system, which ramps up your heartbeat. Ecstasy triggers the release of a chemical called norepinephrine, which makes the heart beat faster.
Don’t Miss: Where Do You Get Your Thyroid Checked
Testing And Diagnosis Of Heart Palpitations
If your child experiences heart palpitations without any other symptoms, you should keep a log of when palpitations occur and under what conditions, then talk to your primary care pediatrician at a regular checkup. If the palpitations occur often and you are concerned, call your doctor or make an appointment to discuss the issue.
If you are able to check your childs heart rate by taking the pulse or touching the chest directly when the palpitations occur, that information will be helpful to your doctor. Ask your pediatrician for information on how to check your child’s heart rate.
Your pediatrician may also refer you to a pediatric cardiologist, a doctor who specializes in heart problems in children. He or she will perform a full evaluation of your child’s health, including getting a medical history and performing an examination. He may;order heart tests such as an electrocardiogram, echocardiogram, stress test or, rarely, cardiac catheterization.
Your child may also;have to wear a Holter monitor, which records the heart rhythm over 24 hours. Another type of monitor that your doctor may have your child wear is a loop recorder, which is worn for one month but records only when the child pushes a button on the recorder at the time of an event of palpitations.
Based on the results of these;tests, your pediatric cardiologist will determine whether your child has an arrhythmia, which is an irregular heartbeat caused by a problem with the heart’s built-in electrical system.
Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Palpitation
Younger children may not be able to describe exactly what they are feeling when this happens, although sometimes they will say that their heart is “beeping” fast.
If your child experiences any of the following;along with heart palpitations, you should make an appointment with your primary care pediatrician right away.
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
Also Check: What Are The Best Foods To Heal The Thyroid
Changes In Menstrual Periods
Because hyperthyroidism tells your body to move faster, the menstrual cycle can become lighter and faster. You may also notice longer periods of time in between your periods.;
On their own, these symptoms may indicate other medical problems. However, when you or your doctor identify more than one of these symptoms at a time, there is a good chance its due to thyroid problems.
Thankfully, most thyroid disorders are treatable and are not life-threatening. However, if you notice a rapid heart rate and experience either a fever or deliriousness, you should call your doctor immediately. These are signs of a hyperthyroid complication called thyrotoxic crisis.
Mental Health Disorder Or Heart Problem
If you and your doctor cannot determine any thyroid-related reasons for your symptoms, you may, in fact, have a panic or anxiety disorder, or some sort of heart irregularity. In these instances, you should be further evaluated by a heart specialist and/or a psychiatrist.
Besides heart problems or an anxiety disorder, other causes of panic attacks include:
- Drug use
- Adrenal gland issues, including;pheochromocytoma
Recommended Reading: Why Does Hair Fall Out With Thyroid Problems
Sometimes Comfort And Reassurance Are The Best Medicine
While palpitations can sometimes signal a more serious condition, theyre often just a sensation of a normal heartbeat, says Marine. Confirming that nothing is seriously wrong is sometimes all a person needs. Relaxation techniques and reassurance from a physician I find that both are very helpful when the cause of palpitations is benign.
Johns Hopkins Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center
The Johns Hopkins Womens Cardiovascular Health Center provides education, comprehensive treatment and diagnostic services to prevent and manage heart disease in women.
Irregular Heartbeat Linked To Higher Thyroid Hormone Levels
- American Heart Association
- Individuals with higher levels of thyroid hormone circulating in the blood were more likely than individuals with lower levels to develop irregular heartbeat, even when the levels were within normal range. Blood levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone , which regulates the production of thyroid hormones and is primarily measured in clinical practice to assess thyroid function, however, were not associated with an increased risk of irregular heartbeat.
Individuals with higher levels of thyroid hormone circulating in the blood were more likely than individuals with lower levels to develop irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation, even when the levels were within normal range, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation.
“Our findings suggest that levels of the thyroid hormone, free thyroxine, circulating in the blood might be an additional risk factor for atrial fibrillation,” said study lead author Christine Baumgartner, M.D., specialist in General Internal Medicine from the University Hospital of Bern, Switzerland, and currently a postdoctoral scholar at University of California San Francisco. “Free thyroxine hormone levels might help to identify individuals at higher risk.”
Don’t Miss: How Long For Armour Thyroid To Leave System
Learn More About Our Unique Fast
;Deep Breathing for Immediate Relaxation
Exercise for better heart healthWhat treatments are available?;Nutritional interventions;Pharmacological treatments:Beta blockersAnti-arrhythmic drugsCalcium channel blockersCatheter AblationJust remember, donât panic!;
Also Check: Can Women Have Sex After Menopause
Heart Failure Caused By Hypothyroidism
Heart failure is the final common pathway of all different kinds of negative events that happen to the cardiovascular system, such as untreated hypertension and diabetes, and heart failure is the state you end up in when these types of stresses have negatively impacted heart function, explains Ann Bolger, MD, American Heart Association spokesperson and William Watt Kerr Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
And no matter how they got there, this population of patients is very vulnerable.
Hypothyroidism is a disorder that interferes with the efficiency of body functions, such as muscular function and aerobic capacity, and heart patients are the ones who can least afford any additional negative effects, continues Bolger.
I dont think hypothyroidism would be well-tolerated by almost anyone, but most of us are in the happy circumstance where nature gives us so many different layers of coping mechanisms that we can defend ourselves in other ways, she adds. Hypothyroidism, however, is a total body challenge. Its not hard to understand how it can have a negative impact on heart patients.
Don’t Miss: How To Improve Thyroid Function Naturally
Sign: Youve Had A Heart Attack
Heart muscle damaged from a heart attack will have scarring, and that can also predispose you to the extra contractions of ventricular tachycardia, he says. Dr. Zeitler says such patients should be treated immediately. I would be more aggressive in making a diagnosis and treating with either medications, procedures, or with an implantable defibrillator, she says. Dr. Hodgson-Zingman says heart disease patients should be evaluated and monitored for rhythm abnormalities regularly. These are the 12 things you must do after a heart attack scare.
You May Like: What Causes Your Heart Rate To Drop
If Your Heart Skips A Beat It Could Be High Thyroid Hormone Levels
When your heart goes pitter-patter, it might not be love, and you may just want to have your doctor check your thyroid hormone levels. New research from a collaborative group of investigators led by scientists at the University Hospital of Bern in Switzerland has found that individuals with higher levels of thyroid hormone circulating in the blood were more likely than individuals with lower levels to develop irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation, even when the levels were within normal range. Findings from the new study were released today in Circulation, in an article entitled Thyroid Function Within the Normal Range, Subclinical Hypothyroidism and the Risk of Atrial Fibrillation.
In the United States, irregular heartbeat affects between 2.7 to 6.1 million people and is estimated to affect up to 12.1 million people by 2030. It occurs when the two upper chambers of the heart, called the atria, beat irregularly and faster than normal. Symptoms may include heart palpitations, dizziness, sweating, chest pain, anxiety, fatigue during exertion, and fainting, but sometimes patients with atrial fibrillation have no symptoms at all.
Hyperthyroidism And Your Heart
Some patients are misdiagnosed as having panic disorder or heart problems when they’re actually hyperthyroid. The body produces too much thyroid hormone, which causes the heart to work harder, creating symptoms such as:
- Increased heart rate, even when you’re resting and especially after exertion
- Higher blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Increased heart contractions
Once treated for their overactive thyroid, these people go on to be free of these symptoms. However, hyperthyroidism also increases your risk of developing heart conditions such as the following, which can independently lead to palpitations and feelings akin to panic attacks:
- Heart failure
- Atrial fibrillation
- Pulmonary hypertension
A toxic multinodular goiter may also cause sporadic periods of hyperthyroidism. In turn, these episodes can be a trigger for panic attacks or cause heart palpitations.
Thyroid Hormone: How It Affects Your Heart
The thyoid gland, which wraps;around the windpipe, releases;hormones that have;wideranging;effects on the;body.
Too little or too much of this crucial hormone can contribute to heart problems.
Located at the base your throat, the butterfly-shaped thyroid gland releases hormones that affect every organ in your bodyespecially your heart. Thyroid hormone influences the force and speed of your heartbeat, your blood pressure, and your cholesterol level. As a result, a malfunctioning thyroid gland can cause problems that masquerade as heart disease or make existing heart disease worse.
An estimated 6% of people in the United States have thyroid disease. Most of themabout 80% have an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism. When thyroid levels drop, all the systems in the body slow down, triggering a range of symptoms that include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance, constipation, and dry skin. But these symptoms are very common in people as they grow older, including those with normal thyroid levels.
Also Check: What Makes Thyroid Levels Go Up