Can Hashimoto’s cause issues with your heart?
Today Dr. Rutherford discusses heart issues that can be exacerbated by Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
we’re going to talk about Hashimoto’s and heart problems. This is kind of an interesting one. And I’m going to speak to you strictly from experience on this because a lot of people are looking for, “Oh, it’s causing this exact thing, that to the heart and it’s creating the bundle branch to not work right,” and blah, blah, blah, and all that type of stuff. But I’m going to tell you the nuts and bolts, blue collar aspect of Hashimoto as a heart disease.
So I’ve been doing this for a long time, seen thousands and thousands and thousands and thousands of patients. And here’s what I hear. I am going to grew greatly downplay how many times I think I’ve heard this, but I have heard this somewhere between 500,000 times. And I think probably more, but this is how common it is. The patient comes in and maybe they don’t even know that they have autoimmune disease at that time, maybe they don’t even know that they got a thyroid problem at that time. And so you’re sitting there are listening and digging and taking notes and trying to go, “Okay, what’s going on here? Does this person fit my practice? Do they have autoimmune problems?” And then it happens. Then I ask, “Do you have heart palpitations for no reason at all? Heart palpitations or anxiety for no reason at all? Would you call that PVCs, pre ventricular contractions? Would you call that SVPs?” These are all medical pathology that cause your heart to beat out of your chest. And then I’m like, “Well, tell me more about that.”
Here’s the story. “I was under a lot of stress and then all of a sudden, for no reason at all, for no reason at all, my heart started to really pound. And I really started to get big time arrhythmias. And I couldn’t breathe very well, and I was really getting anxiety and so on and so forth. [inaudible 00:02:05]. So I was at a hospital and then they did an EKG, they did an echogram, they did a cardiogram, they did everything. And everything was normal,” for the lucky ones. For the lucky ones. “And everything was normal. And they told me to go home and they told me to take some electrolytes and I’m probably just stressed and maybe I just need to deal with my stress and go to counseling. ‘But if it happens again, maybe you can go to cardiologist,’ even though everything was normal.”
The second person, who’s not always quite as fortunate, they’ll pick something up on some of the electrical diagnostics and they’ll go, “Okay, we’re going to go in and we’re going to ablate the nerves that are causing your heart to do that…” And then they do that. But the patient’s still sitting in front of me with heart palpitations for no reason at all, and anxiety for no reason at all, and those types of things, even though they’ve been ablated. So when I see questions that come in on does Hashimoto’s cause heart problems, technically the answer is no. However, not technically, the answer is yes. And here’s how it happens.
I mean, it’s real simple. Nature knows that we need our heart to keep beating. It intuitively knows that that’s an important thing. So it’s put many, many, many, many, many times more receptors for thyroid hormone on your heart than other organs, than other cells. Every cell on your body has a receptor site for thyroid hormone, but it’s much denser in the heart. There’s much more there because you need thyroid hormone, particularly one, T3, to keep hitting that heart, to keep helping to give it energy. Along with the oxygen, along with blood sugar, along with those types of things.
So when we get autoimmune thyroid disease, and you start triggering the disease from any of many triggers, maybe it’s stress, maybe it’s different types of foods that are triggering you, maybe there’s chemicals that you’re being exposed to, maybe you have one of the chronic viral infections, maybe you overdo it, and there’s 40 some of these, and you start doing those, you’ll start to set off immune inflammation which will attack your thyroid. And a couple of things can happen. In certain situations you take too much iodine [inaudible 00:05:07] and you make too much thyroid hormone, or you could just start destroying thyroid tissue.
Either one of those is going to increase the amount of thyroid hormone that starts flying around in your system. And we go back to the fact that nature has provided us with a fail-safe mechanism for our heart by putting many more thyroid receptors there. And all of a sudden, you start getting hit with a lot of thyroid hormone, and you start getting shaking and anxiety and heart palpitations. Now, if you happen to be stressed at that same time, if you happen to be stressed and putting out a hormone that’s called cortisol, which everybody seems to be familiar with today, and that puts you into fight flight, the adrenaline and then the cortisol and puts you into fight flight. And then on top of that, you trigger your thyroid hormone and you start putting a bunch of thyroid hormone out on top of the adrenaline and cortisol, you may end up in the hospital with a heart problem.
But it’s not a heart problem. It’s rarely a heart problem. It’s to the point today, and I know I’m talking to people so I’m trying to be very careful, but this is what I see, okay? So I mean, it’s to the point today, when somebody tells me that they have Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which is a very, very, very, very, very, very rare syndrome, that means they’re grasping for straws most of the time. Not saying it doesn’t exist, but I’m just saying this is what I see. Or they come in and go, “I’ve got SVPs and my heart’s pounding all the time and they they’re going to ablate or they’ve ablated,” I’m like, “This person’s Hashimoto’s [inaudible 00:06:53].”
So that’s the relation between autoimmune thyroid disease and heart problems. Now, if you were to look at the fact that Hashimoto’s is called Hashimoto’s hypothyroid disease, 90% people with Hashimoto’s are like, “I’m hypo.” That slows your heart down and it makes you tired, but it doesn’t really damage your heart. It’s just your heart’s just going, “Give me some thyroid hormone,” and it’s just kind of slow.
I think that’s the long and the short… That’s the clinical, real life, in the office, what you’re really seeing in a real life practice, heart connection to autoimmune thyroid disease.
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