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Heart Watch Blog: Thyroid Function and Heart Failure

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Dec 9, 2005

Thyroid Function and Heart Failure

Thyroid Function and Heart Failure
Thyroid hormone is very important for normal cardiovascular function. So for the people who have a deficiency in thyroid hormone, neither the heart nor the blood vessels function normally. My aunt who faced the problem of subclinical hypothyroidism (SH) in her late fifties suffered simultaneously from weakened heart muscles in both its contraction and relaxation phase.

When your thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormone, the pituitary gland overworks and increases the its production of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), in an effort to encourage the thyroid gland to make more thyroid hormone. In the early phase of thyroid hormone deficiency known as subclinical hypothyroidism (SH), the thyroid gland would be able to produce enough thyroid hormone under the stimulatory effect of the TSH. So patients of SH may only have an elevated level of TSH and may have normal levels of thyroid hormone. SH is defined as TSH levels of 4.5-6.9 mIU/L (mild), 7.0-9.9 mIU/L (moderate), and 10 mIU/L or greater (severe).

A recent study, conducted by Nicolas Rodondi, M.D., MAS, at the University of California, San Francisco, showed that when compared with people having normal thyroid function, older adults with TSH levels of 7.0 mIU/L or higher have two- to three-fold increased risk of congestive heart failure events. Both incidence and recurrent rates of heart failure events were increased in this group.

This study included 2,730 men and women between the age group of 70 and 79 and showed that the incidence of congestive heart failure found during a four-year follow-up period was significantly increased in patients with moderate and severe SH, but not in patients with mild SH, who comprised the highest percentage (68 percent) of all patients with SH in the study. However the study found no consistent evidence that SH was associated with coronary heart diseases events, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, cardiovascular-related mortality, or total mortality.


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Heart disease
About 13 million Americans (about 7 percent of the total population) suffer from coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of death in American men and women amounting a staggering 20 percent of all causes of death. About half of all deaths related to cardiovascular diseases occur from coronary artery disease. Through this heart watch blog we will have our humble contribution towards making men and women aware of the risks of heart diseases.

Heart Watch Blog: Thyroid Function and Heart Failure

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