When you hear about someone who has had a sudden heart attack or someone who suddenly had to have open heart surgery due to a blocked artery, you have to wonder, how does something like this sneak up on you? And, naturally, what can you do to prevent this from happening to you? You know that it is important to eat a healthy diet, exercise, take heart healthy vitamins, and reduce stress, but there is another risk factor that you don’t hear about in the media. There is a condition that greatly increases one’s chances of having heart disease, and it is not limited to men. Ladies – this is important for you to know, too. Hypothyroidism increases your risk of heart attack.
Here are two ways that hypothyroidism leads to heart disease:
1. Mucin Deposition
Mucin is a glue-like substance that is a normal part of your immune system and is present in your tissues. However, hypothyroidism causes an abnormal accumulation of mucin in your connective tissues. The result is swelling that eventually spreads to all your tissues, including your heart.
Mucin also leads to injury of the arteries. As tissues become engorged with mucin, heart function slows, which leads to a weak heart that is unable to pump blood efficiently. This is also known as congestive heart failure.
Other complications that arise with the accumulation of mucin include atrial fibrillation, palpitations, and an increase or decrease in heart rate. It has been documented that treatment of an enlarged heart using natural thyroid supplementation reduces the tissues to normal size, however, if the treatment is stopped then mucin again increases rapidly.
The second reason hypothyroidism can increase your risk for a heart attack is that individuals with low thyroid function have an increased incidence of infection and inflammation. It is well documented that coronary artery disease begins with an inflammatory process that damages the coronary arteries. The thyroid is responsible for the body’s metabolism, and normal thyroid metabolism helps to prevent recurrent infection and chronic inflammation.
Your body’s natural defense against inflammation is to produce antioxidants to fend off dangerous free radicals that create oxidative damage in your body. A slow metabolism not only affects the efficiency of the cardiovascular system, it also lowers the rate at which antioxidants are produced. This leaves your arteries and blood vessels open to further attack, leading to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Not Getting Properly Diagnosed for Hypothyroidism?
So, to find out if you have hypothyroidism, you just go see your doctor and get tested for it, right? Not necessarily. Here is where another big risk factor lies – not getting the proper diagnosis for hypothyroidism. This is a big problem in America today. Most doctors rely on one single blood test to diagnose hypothyroidism, the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test. This is not the best way to determine if you have low thyroid function because the lab range is so wide that it includes the majority of people who are hypothyroid, and this test fails the patient.
How do you properly diagnose hypothyroidism?
Dr. Hotze always says, “If you want to know what’s wrong with a patient,
just ask them! They will tell you what is going on with their health.”
To find out if you have hypothyroidism, visit a doctor who will listen to your symptoms and evaluate your clinical history and basal body temperature, and not just rely on a single lab result. It is important that your doctor listen to you and take into consideration how you feel. Click here to watch as Hotze Health & Wellness Center Drs. Hotze, Sheridan and Ellsworth discuss four ways to properly diagnose hypothyroidism.
Treating Hypothyroidism Saves Lives
The association between damaged arteries and hypothyroidism dates back to 1877 when doctors discovered accelerated atherosclerosis in animals that had had their thyroid glands removed. Administering thyroid hormones to the animals halted the progression of atherosclerosis.
In 1970, Dr. Broda Barnes had 1,569 patients on natural thyroid hormone who were observed for a total of 8,824 patient years. These patients were classified by age, sex, elevated cholesterol, and high blood pressure, and compared to similar patients in the Framingham Heart Study. Based on the statistics derived in the study, seventy-two of Dr. Barnes’s patients should have died from heart attacks; however, only four patients had done so. This represents a decreased heart attack death rate of 95 percent in patients who received natural thyroid hormone.
Find Out Your Heart Disease Risk
In a few short weeks, we will be offering a new heart scan that detects coronary artery disease in its earliest stages. Electron beam computed tomography (EBCT) is safe, non-invasive and emits the lowest level of radiation in the industry. Stay tuned to learn more.
In the meantime take our symptom checker health quiz to find out if you have symptoms of hypothyroidism that could also be affecting your heart.