EXCITING UPDATES TO OUR PATIENT PORTAL & EMR: Click here to read more

How High Thyroid Levels Affect the Heart

More than 30 million Americans — about 1 out of every 8 adults — have been diagnosed with heart disease, the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. While high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels are major contributors to those numbers, what many people don’t know is that heart disease can also be caused by an overactive thyroid (a condition called hyperthyroidism).

At Phoenix Heart, PLLC, our team uses state-of-the-art approaches to diagnose the cause of heart problems, including lab tests to check for thyroid activity. With locations in Anthem, Goodyear, and Glendale, Arizona, we make it easy and convenient for Arizonans to get the care they need for optimal heart health at every age.

Here’s how thyroid problems can affect your heart — and what symptoms to look for.

Your thyroid and your heart

Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in your neck, and it manufactures and releases several hormones that influence your overall health and wellness. Your thyroid hormones play a big role in growth and development, and they also help regulate your metabolism. 

One of their primary roles is to help regulate the way your organs function. While just the right amount of thyroid hormones keep your organs running smoothly, when the level of thyroid hormones is too high, it “speeds up” organ function, making your organs work harder than they should.

If you have an overactive thyroid, it can speed up your heart function, making your heart beat too quickly. Over time, hypothyroidism can “wear out” your heart, leading to what’s known as high-output heart failure.

Thyroid-related heart symptoms

Overactive thyroid affects your heart in different ways, and that means it can cause different symptoms, too. Knowing these symptoms can help you get prompt care to avoid permanent damage to your heart. 

Rapid heart rate

Since an overactive thyroid increases the rate at which your heart functions, not surprisingly, a rapid heart rate is one of the most common symptoms associated with high thyroid hormone levels. While we all experience a rapid heart rate occasionally (like when we’re scared or stressed), hyperthyroidism causes your heart rate to speed all the time, even while you’re resting.

Irregular heart rate

In addition to a faster heart rate, hyperthyroidism can also cause you to have an irregular heart rate or atrial fibrillation. Also called Afib, atrial fibrillation occurs when the upper chambers of your heart beat erratically and “out of rhythm.” Again, while occasional “blips” in your normal rhythm pattern generally aren’t anything to worry about, chronic irregularities can significantly increase your risk of stroke.

High blood pressure and chest pain

Finally, many people who have hyperthyroidism also have high blood pressure, in part due to the excess activity of the heart. If you also have atherosclerosis (clogged or narrowed arteries), elevated blood pressure can cause chest pain or angina, as well. All this excess strain on the heart can lead to an enlarged heart and thickened heart walls (cardiac hypertrophy), eventually causing heart failure.

An overactive thyroid can cause other symptoms, too, including:

Hyperthyroidism becomes more common as we age, and what’s more, the heart-related symptoms of overactive thyroid also occur more frequently in older men and women. 

Help your heart stay healthy

Monitoring your thyroid function is just one way you can prevent heart problems, especially as you get older. At Phoenix Heart, our cardiologists perform comprehensive diagnostic testing for heart-related symptoms, getting to the root cause of symptoms so your care can be tailored to your needs. If you’re having any type of unusual heart symptoms or if it’s been a while since you’ve had a cardiac evaluation, call the office or use our online form to schedule an appointment today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

How Nuclear Medicine Works

Nuclear medicine plays an important role in managing cardiovascular health for many patients with heart disease, yet how it works is still a mystery to lots of people. If nuclear testing is in your future, here’s what you should know.

The Dangers of Being Obese

Losing weight isn’t easy — but if you’re obese or even overweight, dropping those extra pounds is really important for your health. Find out why — and see how our team can help you lose that weight for good.

How Ultrasounds Have Changed Over the Years

Ultrasounds are widely used to help diagnose and manage a range of medical issues, including cardiovascular issues. But was it always this way? Learn about the history of ultrasound and how we use it in our practice.

The Link Between Cholesterol and Heart Problems

Managing your cholesterol levels is important for your cardiovascular health, and it becomes even more important as you get older. This post explains why and offers some simple changes to help you stay healthy.

Life After a Heart Attack

It’s normal to feel confused and overwhelmed after a heart attack. The good news is, there are plenty of things you can do to get your life back on track. If you’ve had a heart attack, here are seven steps you can take to improve your well-being.