Thyroid disorders and heart conditions: What’s the connection?

Watch for an irregular heartbeat and cardiovascular disease.

thyroid disorders heart conditions connection
Thyroid disorders are often overlooked as potential causes of heart problems, but there is a well-established link.
Image: AlexRaths/Thinkstock

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. It produces hormones—thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3)—that tell your cells if they need to speed up or slow down. But if the thyroid gland is overactive or underactive, the result is a number of consequences and symptoms, sometimes involving the heart. "The connection to the heart is well established, but thyroid problems are often overlooked as the cause," says Dr. Giuseppe Barbesino, an endocrinologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »