Hyperthyroidism linked to increased risk of hospitalization for heart and blood-vessel disease

June 23, 2012

An overactive thyroid gland, or hyperthyroidism, may increase the risk of hospitalization for heart and blood-vessel disease even after surgery to remove the gland, according to a new study. The results will be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting in Houston.

"Overactive has long-lasting effects on the patient's heart and vessels," said study principal investigator Saara Metso, M.D., Ph.D. assistant chief of endocrinology in the Department of , Division of Endocrinology, at Tampere University in Tampere, Finland. "Therefore, it is important to monitor the patient's heartbeat and blood pressure even years after the overactive thyroid gland has been cured."

The thyroid gland, located in the front of the neck, produces thyroid hormone, which helps regulate the process of turning food into energy. When the gland is overactive and produces excessive hormone, many bodily processes speed up. Symptoms include unexplained weight loss, , increased appetite, profuse sweating, and feelings of anxiety.

Diagnosis of an overactive thyroid gland usually involves a simple blood test, and effective treatments are available. These include radioactive iodine, which destroys part of the thyroid gland; antithyroid medication to reduce thyroid-hormone synthesis; and surgery, or a thyroidectomy, to remove it.

Recently, however, questions were raised about the long-term health effects of treatment after some studies found that patients who had received radioactive iodine treatment or antithyroid medication had an of hospitalization for heart and blood-vessel disease. This risk persisted long after therapy ended, but it was unclear whether it was associated with the treatment itself or the prior overactive thyroid.

In findings implicating the disease rather than the treatment, the current study showed that patients who had undergone surgical thyroid removal also were at greater risk of being hospitalized for heart and blood-vessel disease. Overall, their risk was 17 percent greater compared to those without a history of overactive thyroid, and the increased risk persisted for as long as two decades after surgery.

"Although overactive thyroid gland is usually easy to diagnose and treat, it may be injurious to the patient's heart and vessels," Metso said. "It is probably the disease rather than the treatment that affects the patient's and vessels permanently."

Participants included 4,334 patients diagnosed with overactive thyroid who underwent in Finland between 1986 and 2007, and 12,991 age- and gender-matched controls. They were 86 percent female, their average age was 46 years, and all were white. Average follow-up was 10.5 years.

Investigators obtained hospitalization information from Finland's national Hospital Discharge Registry for the study. They received funding from Research Funding of the Pirkanmaa Hospital District, Finland.

affects approximately 1 percent of the U.S. population. The most common cause is an autoimmune disorder called Grave's disease.

Explore further: Thyroid condition linked to heart problems: study

Related Stories

Thyroid condition linked to heart problems: study

April 25, 2012

(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.

Recommended for you

Kidney stone? Try a roller coaster ride

September 27, 2016

(HealthDay)—Anyone who's suffered a kidney stone just wants the urinary obstruction gone. Now, preliminary research suggests relief might even be fun: a roller coaster ride.

The 'love hormone' may quiet tinnitus

September 23, 2016

(HealthDay)—People suffering from chronic ringing in the ears—called tinnitus—may find some relief by spraying the hormone oxytocin in their nose, a small initial study by Brazilian researchers suggests.

Bile acid uptake inhibitor prevents NASH / fatty liver in mice

September 21, 2016

Drugs that interfere with bile acid recycling can prevent several aspects of NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis) in mice fed a high-fat diet, scientists from Emory University School of Medicine and Children's Healthcare of ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.