Thyroid condition linked to heart problems: study
Risk was especially elevated for atrial fibrillation.
(HealthDay) -- New evidence suggests that a type of overactive thyroid condition appears to boost the risk of heart problems, especially atrial fibrillation (a form of irregular heartbeat) and premature death.
Patients sometimes are reluctant to do anything about the condition, known as subclinical hyperthyroidism, because it often doesn't cause any symptoms. The findings show, however, that "physicians and patients should take it seriously and consider the appropriate way to treat it to prevent increases in heart disease, bone problems and death," said Dr. Kenneth Burman, chief of the endocrine section at Washington Hospital Center, in Washington, D.C.
Patients with subclinical hyperthyroidism have too much of the hormone created by the thyroid gland, which helps control people's metabolism. An estimated 10 percent of the population has the condition, which is considered to be less serious than overt hyperthyroidism.
Researchers have wondered for years whether subclinical hyperthyroidism puts people at risk of a variety of health problems. Previous research has suggested it does, and a new study takes a closer look and finds more reasons to suspect the condition is dangerous.
The report authors examined the results of 10 studies, which included nearly 53,000 participants. After adjusting their statistics so they wouldn't be skewed by high or low numbers of participants of certain ages or genders, the researchers found that those with subclinical hyperthyroidism were 24 percent more likely to die during the study periods, 29 percent more likely to die of heart-related problems and 68 percent more likely to have atrial fibrillation.
Burman, who wrote a commentary accompanying the study, said the risk of early death and heart problems were still low even with the increased risk. The risk of death during the study period, for example, rose overall from 16 percent in those with normal thyroid levels to 18 percent in those with subclinical hyperthyroidism. But the heightened risk of atrial fibrillation was a significant jump, he said. Atrial fibrillation causes the heart to fail to beat properly, putting patients at higher risk of stroke.
What to do? Physicians often turn to medication first, then surgery or treatment with radioactive iodine, Burman said. But medication raises questions, he said: "Do you keep them on medication indefinitely when they feel fine and the medications have side effects?"
Study co-author Dr. Nicolas Rodondi, head of ambulatory care at the University of Bern, in Switzerland, said treatment should be considered if patients are in certain risk groups and only if their thyroid levels remain abnormal after they're rechecked in three to six months.
The next step in research is to confirm the analysis findings and explore how treatment may help patients lower their risks of problems, he said.
The study appears online April 23 in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. A second study, also published in the journal, examined whether the drug levothyroxine sodium -- a man-made form of the thyroid hormone -- would help reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems in patients with subclinical hypothyroidism.
The study of about 4,800 patients, led by researchers at Newcastle University in England, found that the drug (brand names include Synthroid), appeared to reduce the risk of heart problems in relatively younger patients (aged 40 to 70) but not in older patients (over 70).
In younger patients, about 4 percent of those treated with the drug had heart disease, compared with nearly 7 percent of those who weren't treated with it. After adjusting their statistics so they wouldn't be skewed by various factors, the researchers found that those who took the drug had a 39 percent lower risk of heart disease.
The drug can, however, cause a variety of side effects. Researchers could not definitively explain why older patients didn't receive the same health benefit.
A co-author for this study has received a speaking fee from drug manufacturer Merck Serono.
More information: For details about thyroid diseases, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Journal reference: JAMA Internal Medicine
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
- Study examines subclinical hyperthyroidism, coronary heart disease and mortality risk Apr 23, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Elderly may be more likely to die if they have subclinical hyperthyroidism Jun 06, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Low thyroid function common in chronic kidney disease Jun 11, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism linked with fewer ischemic heart events in younger patients Apr 23, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Thyroid condition increases stroke risk in young adults Apr 02, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Gourmands and foodies everywhere have long recognized ginger as a great way to add a little peppery zing to both sweet and savory dishes; now, a study from researchers at Columbia University shows purified components of the ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
There are significant cost and risk factors associated with two procedures commonly used to diagnose or treat gastrointestinal problems, according to research presented at Digestive Disease Week (DDW).
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 22 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Regular consumption of coffee is associated with a reduced risk of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), an autoimmune liver disease, Mayo Clinic research shows. The findings were being presented at the Digestive Disease ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes 22 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A new case of the deadly coronavirus has been detected in Saudi Arabia where 15 people have already died after contracting it, the health ministry announced on Saturday on its Internet website.
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes May 18, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—Few randomized clinical trials have been done to assess clinical prediction rules for patients with lower back pain, and the trials that have been done are of low quality and do not provide ...
Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes May 17, 2013 | not rated yet | 0 |
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have identified a potential new risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea: asthma. Using data from the National Institutes of Health (Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)-funded Wisconsin ...
9 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
In their quest to learn more about the variability of cells between and within tissues, biomedical scientists have devised tools capable of simultaneously measuring dozens of characteristics of individual ...
10 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Scientists at Johns Hopkins have turned their view of osteoarthritis (OA) inside out. Literally. Instead of seeing the painful degenerative disease as a problem primarily of the cartilage that cushions joints, ...
10 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (4) | 0 |
A new study looking at sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) and markers for Alzheimer's disease (AD) risk in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and neuroimaging adds to the growing body of research linking the two.
10 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
The hunt for an HIV vaccine has gobbled up $8 billion in the past decade, and the failure of the most recent efficacy trial has delivered yet another setback to 26 years of efforts.
14 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Patients with treatment-resistant major depression saw dramatic improvement in their illness after treatment with ketamine, an anesthetic, according to the largest ketamine clinical trial to-date led by researchers from the ...
22 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (5) | 1 |