Overactive thyroid tied to heart woes

Overactive thyroid tied to heart woes

NEW YORK - Reuters
A new report suggests higher-than-normal thyroid activity is linked to a greater risk of heart disease, including irregular heartbeats.

People with so-called subclinical hyperthyroidism have a slightly-overactive thyroid -- a gland at the front of the neck responsible for regulating metabolism by releasing certain hormones.

Those people often don’t have the typical signs of full-on hyperthyroidism, such as increased appetite, restlessness and fatigue -- so the condition may frequently go undiagnosed.

Because many patients just outside the normal range are older and their thyroid function and hormones can naturally fluctuate, doctors have wondered whether or not it’s helpful to treat them with thyroid drugs.

“There’s been a discussion by many of us about what we should do with subclinical hyperthyroidism, because the risks were unclear,” said Dr. Nicolas Rodondi from the University of Bern, Switzerland, who worked on the report. Slightly-overactive or underactive thyroids are much more common than overt thyroid disease, researchers said.