heart disease

Is Thyroid linked with Cardiovascular Diseases?

If you have thyroid you are at the risk of cardiovascular diseases as well


What is the thyroid?

The thyroid gland is located below the neck and in front of the larynx. This 2-inch small gland plays a vital role in the healthy functioning of the body. It maintains and regulates body temperature, thinking the capacity of the brain, the pumping of the heart, etc. in fact, the gland performs a very important task of maintaining harmony among all organs of the body.

Thyroid disease is a medical condition in which your thyroid gland either becomes overactive or underactive. These two conditions are medically termed as hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.

What is the link between thyroid and cardiovascular diseases?

The link between thyroid and cardiovascular diseases is well established.

In hypothyroidism, the arteries turn less elastic. To compensate this, the blood pressure in the body rises so as to circulate blood all around the body. So, these patients face the situation of high blood pressure. The prolonged effects of hypothyroidism may include metabolism change in the body, high total cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. Consequently, the plaque builds up inside the arteries of the heart increases. Thus, the pumping and relaxation function of the heart is impaired. In extreme cases, the fluid accumulates over time and thus heart undergoes an impaired pumping function. This can in extreme cases lead to death.

In hyperthyroidism, the heart beats at a faster rate because of the increased level of T4. If the heart beat becomes too high, it might lead to palpitations. Hyperthyroidism might even have a negative impact on blood pressure and heart functions. All these factors lead to overstimulation of the heart muscle. This might cause weakness and result in heart failure at times.

What is the link between thyroid and weight gain or weight loss?

in hyperthyroidism, the individual loses weight while in hypothyroidism, the individual gains weight. These symptoms are experienced because thyroid changes the metabolism rate of an individual altering the burning of fat leading to weight gain or weight loss.

What are goitrogens?

Goitrogens are natural compounds that are found in many plant-based foods. These compounds interfere with the normal functioning of the thyroid gland in the body. They suppress the thyroid gland by interfering with thyroid hormone production, which leads to an enlargement of the thyroid known as goiter.  So, it is important to regulate their intake so as to maintain a healthy life. The common goitrogenic rich foods include substances like:

  • Broccoli
  • Flax
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Millet
  • Cauliflower
  • Collards
  • Mustard
  • Peaches
  • berries
  • Peanuts
  • Red wine
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberry
  • Soy products
  • Sweet potato
  • Turnips
  • Teas

How goitrogens affect the functioning of the thyroid?

Goitrogens alter the production of thyroid hormone in the body by suppressing the release of thyroid hormone in the body. This in turn even suppresses the absorption of iodine in the body. To compensate the loss suffered through this suppression, thyroid enlarges to counter-attack the reduced hormone production in the body. This enlarged thyroid gland is more popularly called by the name goiter.

How to reduce the risk of thyroid disease and ways to treat the disease?

  • Use thyroid collar during X-Rays- sometimes exposure to unnecessary radiation experienced during X-Rays may lead to the development of thyroid disease. So, in order to avoid such circumstances, it is preferable to place a thyroid collar on the neck while undergoing any sort of radiations. This will prevent the thyroid gland from any unnecessary exposure to the radiation.
  • Quit smoking- the toxins present in tobacco are fatal to the health of the thyroid gland. One such toxin is thiocyanate which blocks the production of thyroid hormone. So, it is better to quit smoking than to face its harmful consequences.
  • Do not overeat soy- it is better to consume soy in moderation as reports have suggested soy interfering with the body’s absorption of
  • Eat sea vegetables– sea vegetables are a rich source of iodine. Adding them to the diet can actually provide relief to thyroid disease.
  • Eat slow- the location of the thyroid plays a vital role in connecting the mind and the body. Eating fast can weaken this connection while eating slow strengthens the connection. So, it is advisable to eat slowly as thyroid is the king of metabolism in your body.
  • Regular exercise/yoga- exercise or yoga is very beneficial in supporting the thyroid gland.

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