Levothyroxine a contributor to paroxysmal afib?

I am new to this forum and find all contributor's comments/suggestions very helpful. Before I found the forum, I felt very much alone and the NHS failed us quite badly. My husband (56) was increased from initially Levothyroxine (medication for thyroid) 80 mg to 175mg, other than that he takes no medication.

After his dose was increased 5 years ago, his first episode of paroxysmal afib occurred. I am still convinced the Levothyroxine is one of the culprits, I wonder if anyone else has the same idea?

The GP just want to put him on statins (due to his family history and high Cholesterol ) but the side effects can be so severe and outweigh the benefits.

Therefore, we decided to improve his stats (Cholesterol etc.) first by eliminating MSG, better diet (using loads of garlic, onions, porridge, beetroot, replacing wheat by oats) and benecol one yogurt drink a day. Since we started End of last year, his stats (Cholesterol etc.) have well improved.

We haven't seen the GP as they don't take us seriously and only want to put him on the statins.

When asking for alternatives to Levothyroxin they just say there is none. Yet my family in Europe are all on different brands of thyroid medication with no side effects and much lower doses.

We just see the nurse now to take a blood test every 6 weeks and just monitor the results which keep improving with the above mentioned diet improvements. Parallel to that, the episodes have decreased, 'only' twice this year with one appeared to be triggered by dehydration, one by stress.

It is just so helpful to read about all your experience with alternatives to medication, like the salt/water cure.

Thanks to Alpha88, the salt trick is worth trying...

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  • Hi Petrac

    Can I just check whether the 6 weekly blood tests are to monitor both the thyroid function and the cholesterol?

    There is another group within HealthUnlocked that specialises in thyroid conditions and if you haven't already done so it might be worth asking them as well.

    An over active thyroid can cause heart arrhythmias but I have not heard of the medication causing AF directly. When I have had episodes of AF in the past, they have always checked whether an over active thyroid was a possible cause.

    I have been taking Levothyroxine for about 8 years as a result of another drug, Amiodarone, affecting my thyroid function. When I stopped taking Amiodarone just over a year ago, my thyroid function improved but it has never returned to normal and I still take a lower dose of Levothyroxine.

    When my AF returned recently, I suspected an over active thyroid/too strong a dose of Levothyroxine as a possible cause. However the blood test showed my thyroid function as normal.

    As you probably know, thyroid function is very complicated and involves the pituitary gland as well as the thyroid itself. The people on the thyroid forum will tell you that GPs don't always order the full range of tests available to check all the aspects of thyroid function.

  • Hi Mrspat, thanks for your reply. Yes, we monitor both Cholesterol and Thyroid (his is an underactive one) and as you quite rightly said, GP's don't always order the full range of tests. There are also several other Thyroid conditions which are more difficult to diagnose, like Hashimoto. Have you been tested for that? At the moment, we only see the nurse not the GP as she is the only one who takes us seriously. She does the regular blood tests and so far, since the first 'devastating' test results, all values are improving (far from perfect though) which I'm putting down to a radical change of diet. Trouble is, I am not the AF sufferer, it is my husband who is despite many discussions very reluctant to see any doctor; and if he does, he tells them he's fine... So I am trying to push it along but its so hard as docs either ignore or ridicule me. For example, he had a bad AF episode, we went to our GP and they binned the printout as they thought the ECG was malfunctioning. It took me 8 months until his next AF ECG was even looked at and confirmed. So at the moment I am trying to prove that through healthy diet we can further improve his values. Once this is done and I have more data, I will get back to the GP and ask for a referral to a Thyroid Specialist. Thought of changing GP but we are in a small rural Community so not much in the way of alternative .. thanks for your advice

  • G'day Petrac,

    Sorry can't comment on Levothyroxine but can offer words of support on diet. I'm on statins by the way with no side effects. I use a diet to control my AF - a combination of going gluten free and the FODMAPS diet (suggest you Google both for details). That said not all diets work in every case for every person - there seems to be no one cure fixes all people. Needs to be sussed out individually. I consulted a nutritionist and she advised me. That was three years ago I first consulted her. Now I cannot recall my last AF event.

    Interesting your diet - I cannot have any of the stuff you listed, best I can handle in the onion family is spring onions, but, not many !! The rest of it is off my menu now. Alot of fruit and Veg I cannot handle - so the famous claims of MUST HAVE 5 or 7 fruit and veg a day just don't do it for me. So weird.

    Have you tried going into your search engine for 'alternatives to Levothyroxine on NHS' and see what comes up You could also try the NHS websites - I think NHS direct and also Patient UK and do some research yourself. GP's I'm afraid are only generalists and sometimes many don't like moving out of their comfort zone and coming up with medication alternatives - then again cost comes into it too, too afraid to loosen the purse strings ! Anyway - nice to know diet is having some impact.

    Good luck,

    Aussie John

  • Hi AussieJohn,

    Good to hear that a change in nutrition helped with your AF; I am wondering if you could handle veg in a certain perhaps half-processed state (not cooked to death but as they can be easier to digest, i.e. tomatoes just lightly grilled with or without a small drizzle of rape oil).

    As you quite rightly say there seems to be no one cure for all.

    We have a nurse who provides some advise for nutrition and does the blood tests. With the GP not very helpful (we can't switch to another practice as this is a rural area and there isn't much alternative) I am really glad I have the forum now as I don't feel so alone.

    I will continue with more research; once I have more data (from the blood tests) and information (regarding alternatives to statins and Levothyroxine), I will get back to he GP.

    But only once I am confident that I have enough information as I already have a reputation as a trouble maker. Take care

    PetraC

  • Hi Petrac there was an interesting link to a study looking at the effectiveness of eating an apple a day against statins to lower cholesterol and guess what, the results indicated that it was at least as effective as taking statins without the side effects.

    Have you considered changing GP?

  • Hi CDreamer,

    Good tip, as the pectin in the apple can contribute to the reduction of LDL. I think it's the older brands rather than the new hybrids which contain more of the good stuff .

    Changing GP is a good idea however we live in a rural area with limited options. Plus I'm afraid I already have a reputation beyond our GP practice as that pushy spouse of an AF sufferer who keeps insisting he's just fine. I just noticed I really sound quite sarcastic so apologies to everyone here on the forum.

    There is so much more going on in the background and I'm treading on eggshells

    Anyway, for the time being, I'm just trying to get as much information as possible so I can get back to the GP as an informed person.

    Again, thanks CDreamer and everyone on the forum

    Bless you all

  • Difficult, I am lucky to have a very supportive GP now, but have had others in the past who made me feel that I was a hypochondriac whenever I went with something so for years I just didn't go.

    I am reading Dr Sarah Myhill's book on nutrition and she has some interesting theories, although she wrote it for chronic fatigue, she mentions arrythmias. Lots of science based facts of how our bodies work and suggestions for diet and supplements. Just google her website, dry hill.co.uk if you are interested.

    Good luck

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