Hypothyroidism and your heart

Treating a borderline low thyroid hormone level may be unnecessary — perhaps even undesirable — in older people.


Image: © magicmine/Getty Images

Your thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your throat, releases hormones that affect your entire body, including your heart. An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, can trigger a range of symptoms, including fatigue, feeling cold, and unexplained weight gain. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can slow the heart rate and make the arteries less elastic, causing blood pressure to rise. Elevated cholesterol -levels are another possible consequence.

True hypothyroidism is not common; it affects between 1% and 2% of people, mostly women. These people clearly need replacement thyroid hormone, which should alleviate their symptoms and protect their hearts.

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