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
But My Doctor Says T3 Is Dangerous For My Heart
To the contrary, there are NUMEROUS medical studies which underscore that the judicious use of T3 has been very positive for heart and cardiovascular health. For example, this study states the following:
Clinical studies have shown that mild forms of thyroid dysfunction, both primary and secondary syndrome) have negative prognostic impact in patients with heart failure. In these patients, the administration of synthetic triiodothyronine ) was well tolerated and induced significant improvement in cardiac function without increased heart rate and metabolic demand.
Another study found positive results with T3, stating:
Altogether, our data indicate that short-term administration of substitutive doses of synthetic L-T3 state reduces activation of the neuroendocrine system and improves LV SV in patients with ventricular dysfunction and low-T3 syndrome.
This study reveals that T3 plays a key role in repairing a damaged heart:
The potential of TH to regenerate a diseased heart has now been tested in patients with acute myocardial infarction in a phase II, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled study .
In fact, research has shown that low T3 can mean a negative outcome in cardiac patients:
low T3 concentrations are a strong independent predictive marker of poor prognosis in cardiac patients and might represent a determinant factor directly implicated in the evolution and prognosis of these patients.
Have Your Palpitations Checked
If youre experiencing heart palpitations or other symptoms, HeartCare Associates of Connecticut, LLC is here to help. We can perform a comprehensive exam to discover the underlying cause of your heart palpitations and help get you back to normal.
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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.”
What Should You Do If You Have A Heart Condition And Are Newly Diagnosed With Hypothyroidism Or Hashimotos
Your doctors decision about prescribing thyroid hormone therapy will be influenced by your age, heart diagnosis, or risk factor of heart problems. Typically youll start with the lowest possible dose.
If necessary, the dose will be increased slowly across several months.
If your thyroid has been removed, your doctor might give you a higher dose to compensate for your complete loss of thyroid hormones.
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Circulatory And Cardiovascular Systems
Hypothyroidism slows your heart rate and weakens your heartbeat, making your heart less efficient at pumping blood out to your body. This can make you short of breath when you exercise. By narrowing your arteries, this condition can also raise blood pressure.
Hypothyroidism can lead to high cholesterol. Together, high blood pressure and high cholesterol can increase your risk for heart disease.
What Causes Palpitations During Period
Palpitations occur frequently in women at all ages, especially during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and during the perimenopausal period. Palpitations during the perimenopausal period are usually benign and seem to be related to the increased sympathetic activity caused by the menopause.
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Is Thyroid Really The Cause Of My Palpitations
Heart palpitations are the feelings of having a fast beating or a fluttering heart, giving the sensation of pounding. Palpitations have many causes and can be triggered over a mild stimulus. While they can be worrisome for the patient, in most cases they are harmless. However, persistent cases warrant assessment by best General physician in Karachi.
Is thyroid causing my palpitations?
Thyroid is a small gland, located at the base of the throat which releases hormones controlling just about every organ in the body, including the basal metabolic rate, and especially the heart. Thyroid hormone influences the heartbeat, blood pressure, and even the cholesterol level.
An undiagnosed case of thyroid malfunction can masquerade as heart disease. Both hypo- and hyper-thyroidism affect the heart in different ways.
In hypothyroidism, there are low levels of circulating thyroid hormones, which in turn can slow down the heart rate, however, the arteries become less elastic, and the blood pressure rises in order to circulate blood around the body. Additionally, the cholesterol levels rise, and these in turn contribute to the hardness of the vessels.
The blood pressure in people with hyperthyroidism is usually higher due to the higher heart rate, as is the cardiac output and the pulmonary artery pressure. In addition, the arteries are stiffened and clogged this combination of forceful heart beat, stiffened arteries and hypertension can trigger chest pain or angina.
Whos At Risk For Hyperthyroidism
According to the National Institute of Health , hyperthyroidism affects approximately 1.2% of the population in the US. Although it occurs in both men and women, its up to 10 times more likely in females.
Youre at higher risk for hyperthyroidism if you:
- Have a family history of thyroid disease
- Have pernicious anemia
- Have primary adrenal insufficiency, also known as Addisons disease
- Consume an iodine-rich diet or medications containing iodine
- Are over the age of 60
- Were pregnant within the past 6 months
- Had thyroid surgery or a thyroid problem such as a goiter also known as a swollen thyroid gland
What are hyperthyroidism symptoms?
Though an overactive thyroid brings on a constellation of high thyroid symptoms , some of them dont seem obviously linked to the condition . Heres what to look for.
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Changes In Menstrual Cycle Or Sexual Performance
Hormonal changes are closely linked to sexual function. If you find that your period is becoming irregular, heavier, or more painful than before, or if you are experiencing stronger emotional symptoms tied to PMS, your thyroid might be the cause.
You might also experience difficulty with sexual performance or enjoyment. If you are having difficulty with libido or achieving orgasm or if you cannot maintain an erection, you could also be struggling with a thyroid-related symptom.
While these are uncomfortable issues to talk about, they should absolutely be addressed with us to rule out not only thyroid trouble but also anything else that might quietly be causing these issues.
How Can I Stop Hormonal Palpitations
What are some symptoms of low estrogen? Common symptoms of low estrogen include: painful sex due to a lack of vaginal lubrication. an increase in urinary tract infections due to a thinning of the urethra. irregular or absent periods. mood swings. hot flashes. breast tenderness. headaches or accentuation of pre-existing migraines. depression.
How do you calm heart palpitations? Home remedies to relieve heart palpitations Perform relaxation techniques. Reduce or eliminate stimulant intake. Stimulate the vagus nerve. Keep electrolytes balanced. Keep hydrated. Avoid excessive alcohol use. Exercise regularly.
When should I be worried about heart palpitations? If your palpitations are accompanied by dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, or chest pain, you should seek medical attention. Palpitations can be caused by a wide range of abnormal heart rhythms. These palpitations will be very short, no more than a couple seconds, and not accompanied by any other symptoms.
How long can palpitations last? Heart palpitations are common, and they often last for a few seconds. The tips listed above can help to stop palpitations and reduce their occurrence. Speak to a doctor if the sensation lasts for longer than a few seconds.
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Faq: Frequently Asked Questions
Is Graves disease the same as hyperthyroidism?
Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to and is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, but theyre not the same thing. While all patients with Graves disease have hyperthyroidism, patients with hyperthyroidism may not necessarily have Graves disease .
In Graves disease, the body makes an antibody called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin , which causes the thyroid gland to make too much thyroid hormone . Graves disease runs in families and is more commonly found in women.
Hypothyroidism vs Hyperthyroidism: Whats the difference?
The difference all comes down to the prefix in each word: hyper means over or exaggeration, while hypo means under or beneath. When it comes to -thyroidism, hyper- means an overactive thyroid gland, and hypo- means an underactive one.
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, can actually be caused by treatments for hyperthyroidism, since their whole purpose is to decrease thyroid gland activity. Those treatments, however, can tip the balance too far.
What should I eat to manage hyperthyroidism?
With hyperthyroidism, its more important to manage what you dont eat. High levels of iodine consumption can exacerbate hyperthyroidism, so its a good idea to watch your iodine intake. Look for ways to limit iodine in your diet by restricting your consumption of foods such as: fish, seaweed, shrimp, dairy products, and grain products .
Does hyperthyroidism go away on its own?
What Are Thyroid Disorders
Thyroid disorders are conditions that cause malfunctioning of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in the front part of the neck and releases hormones that regulate your metabolism and the way you use energy. Thyroid disorders can cause the thyroid gland to become underactive or overactive .
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How Long Is The Treatment For
For most people, treatment is for life. Occasionally, the disease process reverses. This is uncommon, apart from the following:
- Children. Sometimes hypothyroidism is a temporary condition in older children.
- Pregnancy. Some women develop thyroid imbalance after having a baby. If it occurs, it typically happens about three to six months after the birth. Often this lasts just a few months and corrects itself. Treatment is needed only in a small number of cases. However, afterwards it is wise to have a yearly blood test, as there is an increased risk of developing autoimmune thyroiditis and long-term hypothyroidism in the future.
Hyperthyroidism And Heart Disease
As you have learned, hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland produces and secretes excess thyroid hormones into your blood. In most cases, the exact causes for thyroid problems, including hyperthyroidism, are hard to determine and are left unclear when the treatment has already begun.
Since we are talking about a condition that characterizes itself with excess production of the Thyroxine hormones , a hormone which we mentioned to affect the work of our heart, it is expected that certain symptoms will develop.
In fact, some of the main symptoms of hyperthyroidism come from the cardiovascular system. These symptoms include rapid heartbeat , high blood pressure, nervousness, palpitations, and many others. There are several different heart problems that are usually caused by the presence of hyperthyroidism.
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Symptoms Of An Underactive Thyroid
Many symptoms of an underactive thyroid are the same as those of other conditions, so it can easily be confused for something else.
Symptoms usually develop slowly and you may not realise you have a medical problem for several years.
Common symptoms include:
- pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the hand and fingers
- irregular periods or heavy periods
Elderly people with an underactive thyroid may develop memory problems and depression. Children may experience slower growth and development. Teenagers may start puberty earlier than normal.
If you have any of these symptoms, see your GP and ask to be tested for an underactive thyroid.
Read more about getting tested for an underactive thyroid
Surgery For Thyroid Disorders
Removing the thyroid gland can cure hyperthyroidism, but the procedure is only recommended if antithyroid drugs don’t work, or if there is a large goiter. Surgery may also be recommended for patients with thyroid nodules. Once the thyroid is removed, most patients require daily supplements of thyroid hormones to avoid developing hypothyroidism.
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Feeling Chilly Or Overheated
Blood pressure is directly linked to circulation. Low circulation will result in feelings of being chilled. You might find that you are reaching for a sweater when others are feeling just fine. If you are always cold or notice that your hands and feet become particularly chilled when uncovered, you may be experiencing a symptom of hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism might present in the opposite way. This could cause you to feel hot flashes or experience excessive sweating.
Subclinical Hypothyroidism And The Heart
Subclinical hypothyroidism is biochemically defined as a TSH level above the upper limit of the reference range with normal thyroid hormone levels. Severity of subclinical hypothyroidism is further defined based on the elevation in TSH levels, where mildly increased serum TSH levels range from 4 mIU/L to 10 mIU/L, and anything above 10 mIU/L indicates severely increased TSH levels. The reported prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism depends on several factors, such as iodine supplementation, age, and race. In the United States, the prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism is reported as 4.3% in the NHANES III study and as high as 9.5% in the Colorado study. The annual risk of progression to overt hypothyroidism is reported at 1% to 5%, depending on TSH levels and thyroid antibody status. Up to 60% of patients with subclinical hypothyroidism can return to euthyroidism over 5 years, again based on TSH levels and antibody status. As described earlier, cardiovascular changes of arterial compliance, diastolic blood pressure, endothelial dysfunction, and hyperlipidemia that are noted with overt hypothyroidism can also occur in subclinical hypothyroidism.
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Can Breast Pain Be Due To Thyroid
There are a few factors that could come into play when trying to decide if hypothyroidism is causing breast tenderness and pain.
Firstly, an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, can cause hyperprolactinemia, an endocrine disorder in which there are higher than normal levels of the hormone prolactin in the blood.
Furthermore, hypothyroidism can provoke reproductive disorders, such as a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome , putting women at an increased risk of developing ovarian cysts1,2.
Ovarian cysts are usually asymptomatic, but when they do cause symptoms, they include breast tenderness pain or pressure in the lower abdomen on the side of the cyst trouble emptying the bladder completely weight gain and more.
Lastly, it is reported that thyroid medications can also cause breast pain as they affect estrogen levels, though the link between both thyroid hormones and estrogens needs to be studied further.
Moreover, if a woman with hypothyroidism happens to experience breast tenderness and is in her mid-40s or early 50s, the symptom might be more related to the menopausal transition than her thyroid disease.
Heart Failure And Hypothyroidism
As described earlier, hypothyroidism can affect cardiac contractility, which is often diastolic in nature, and impair cardiac muscle relaxation. Associated diastolic hypertension and sometimes-coexistent coronary artery disease further affect myocardial diastolic function. Cardiac echocardiography has demonstrated impaired relaxation in patients with overt and subclinical hypothyroidism. In addition, early impaired relaxation has been demonstrated by prolongation of the isovolumetric relaxation time and reduction in the E/A ratio in subclinical hypothyroidism. The E/A ratio is a ratio of early to late ventricular filling velocities, and a reduced E/A ratio signifies diastolic dysfunction from impaired relaxation. Consequently, it results in a state of low cardiac output with decreased heart rate and stroke volume. It is well known that protein-rich pericardial and/or pleural effusion often occurs in hypothyroidism as a result of increased vascular permeability. In advanced heart failure and shortly after myocardial infarction, the conversion of T4 to T3 decreases. Since T3 is the main regulator of gene expression in myocardial muscle, this decrease has been thought to affect myocardial contractility and remodeling. Low free T3 levels also have been associated with increased mortality in patients with heart disease.
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