A complete system of glands works together to produce your body’s thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). The hypothalamus in your brain secretes a hormone in your bloodstream called TRH (Thyrotropin-releasing hormone), which goes to the pituitary gland and stimulates the release of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). The TSH then moves to the thyroid gland located at the base of your throat to produce T3 and T4 hormones. This cycle syncs to increase or decrease the thyroid levels as per requirement.
Thyroid Hormone and the Heart
These hormones affect every organ and cell of your body. It regulates your energy consumption, heart rate, temperature, and muscle contraction, affects metabolism and brain development, and manages your bone and skin maintenance.
An abnormal thyroid count can affect your heart the most adversely. It is because the thyroid hormone affects the speed and force of your heartbeat, and it regulates your blood pressure and cholesterol. Untreated abnormal thyroid levels in your blood for a long time might silently start heart conditions in your body or worsen existing heart issues.
Types of Thyroid Disorders
A thyroid ailment results if there is less or more than the required amount of thyroid hormone in your blood. There are two types of thyroid disorders:
- If the thyroid hormone count is less, it is called underactive thyroid or Hypothyroidism
- And if the thyroid hormone count is more, it is called overactive thyroid or Hyperthyroidism.
Hypothyroidism and Cardiovascular issues
Hypothyroidism can harm the heart and the cardiovascular system of your body. The following points will help you understand it better:
- Lesser thyroid count slows down the heart rate, and it makes the arteries lesser elastic, hence the blood pressure increases to circulate blood throughout the body.
- Narrowed and hardened arteries due to low thyroid count also elevate the cholesterol level.
- Some people also experience muscle aches due to hypothyroidism, a side effect of elevated cholesterol. To balance out the cholesterol, you will take cholesterol-lowering medications, and these medicines produce muscle aches.
Hyperthyroidism and Cardiovascular Issues
Hyperthyroidism is somewhat rare as compared to hypothyroidism. Some overactive thyroid symptoms are excessive sweating, heat intolerance, sleeplessness, loose bowels, extreme hunger, and weight loss. It also affects the heart in the following ways:
- Excessive thyroid count in the blood forces the heart to beat faster and harder, eventually leading to an abnormal heartbeat.
- The patient might also suffer from atrial fibrillation, which means unorganised rhythm in the heart’s upper chambers.
- Some people also experience palpitations.
- All of this also might result in high blood pressure.
- A person with all the issues mentioned above and clogged arteries from the past might have chest pain or angina.
Who can develop thyroid problems?
The following factors might increase your chance of developing the thyroid-related disease:
- Family History: People who have a direct relative like parents or siblings suffering from improper thyroid gland function or thyroid-related disease of either kind face a significant risk of developing it too.
- Age: The risk of developing hypothyroidism increases in people over 60.
- Gender: Females are 5 to 8 times more prone to developing thyroid disorders.
- Past health record: Some people who have personal health issues like type-1 diabetes, pernicious anaemia, Addison’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, vitiligo, and radiation therapy to the head and neck have a higher chance of developing thyroid-related problems.
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The thyroid can bring along multiple health issues if not treated on time. If you start to witness thyroid symptoms, don’t take them lightly. Consult a doctor and get your thyroid test done before it starts affecting other organs as well. Timely medication will bring things back to normal.
It cannot be cured but is treatable with medication. Your life is entirely every day if you take your daily dose of medicine without fail. However, a permanent solution would be the removal of the thyroid gland, which is usually not advised. And post removal, you will have to eat a medicine regularly to form the hormone. So, it is better to take medication to control symptoms.
The following food items should not be consumed in large quantities by a hypothyroid patient: Soya-based foods, peaches, strawberries, and pears. Also, avoid beverages like green tea, coffee, and alcohol.
You must have heard people should eat iodine-rich food for the thyroid. Such foods are nuts, eggs, dairy products, iodised salt is a must, fish, seafood, and roasted seaweed.
A blood test measuring your T3, T4, TSH, and thyroid antibody levels is the most accurate way.
It is advised to go for a thyroid test in the morning. Else you might get a false reading.