In a recent study, researchers found two thyroid disorders might make heart failure worse.
The two disorders are subclinical hypothyroidism and low T3 syndrome.
Both disorders occur when the body doesn’t produce enough of certain hormones.
The research was conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania.
The thyroid is located at the base of the neck and an important gland in our body.
Previous studies have shown that the thyroid can release hormones that control how the body uses energy.
It can influence the functions of many organs in the body, including the heart.
While subclinical hypothyroidism is not a serious thyroid disease and often not treated with thyroid hormone pills, low T3 syndrome is treated with thyroid hormone pills.
In the current study, the team examined data collected on 1,365 patients with heart failure. These people were enrolled between 2003 and 2011 in the Penn Heart Failure Study.
Most of them were men about 57 years old.
The researchers tested the thyroid hormones in blood samples in participants at the start of the study.
They found most of the patients had normal thyroid hormone levels. But 5% had subclinical hypothyroidism and 14% had low T3 syndrome.
After 4 years, these people were more likely to need a mechanical pump that supports heart function and blood flow or a heart transplant.
On the contrary, in people with normal thyroid functions, the need was much lower.
The findings suggest that some people with heart failure may benefit from thyroid treatment.
The researchers suggest that if doctors could completely cure abnormal thyroid levels in patients with heart failure, maybe their heart failure symptoms would be less severe.
Recently, the American Heart Association has issued guidelines to suggest doctors test thyroid hormone levels in patients with heart failure.
In the future, more clinical research is needed to define abnormal thyroid levels and give specific advice for treating heart failure patients with thyroid problems.
Currently, it may be still too soon to say treating thyroid problems will help heart failure patients improve health.
For healthy people, it is important to protect both their heart health and their thyroid health, because there may be strong connections in between.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Anne Cappola, an endocrinologist at the Perelman School of Medicine.
The study is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Heart Failure.
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