Dr Sanjay Gupta - The Heart and Hypothyroid... - AF Association

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Dr Sanjay Gupta - The Heart and Hypothyroidism - Please read even if you haven't been diagnosed with this - yet!

jeanjeannie50
jeanjeannie50

I suffered for years from this condition, had no idea that was why I felt so tired and I put that extreme tiredness down to my AF:

hypothyroidmom.com/hypothyr...

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Hi Jean, interesting read. I have had an underactive thyroid for nearly 30 years & that's when I first noticed ectopics & had them ever since. My blood test in December suggested that my levels were too high so I was reduced from 100 to 75 to see if that was better. I have a follow up blood test next week. The point is you certainly feel 'off' when you are out of range & your heart is not too happy

Thanks Jean! I hadn't got round to reading Dr Gupta s post yday so found this most interesting.

Great information Jean, thanks for posting. I have some of the symptoms mentioned but my thyroid is good - my symptoms are more to do with Autoimmune/Autonomic Dysfunction.

I think that it just confirms just how complex human biology is and that treating the mechanics in isolation is not the way forward. That’s why I don’t believe AF will ever have A ‘cure’.

Don't they include a thyroid test when you are in hospital with AF? Seems like a sensible idea.

Yes, would certainly be a great idea. Perhaps they do, because lets face it they carry out blood tests when you're in hospital, but never tell you what they're for, or the results. It's like it's none of our business and maybe they think that we feeble minded people wouldn't understand!

It is an automatic test but they only do one test and evidently there are several hormones which can be deficient. I don’t know too much about but if you go HU Thyroid community they know all the ways & wherefores.

My cousin kept testing normal for under active thyroid for years - until a new GP came along & tested her with a more sensitive test - sure enough she was under active.

Blood tests can also be borderline so not treated but you can be symptomatic.

Yes, I've been on the HU Thyroid forum and my goodness those ladies know their stuff!

The NHS routinely only tests TSH levels. TSH is a pituitary hormone not a thyroid hormone but they think it's the gold standard!

The proper thyroid blood test that is necessary to see what's really going on should be done first thing in the morning (8am if possible) having eaten nothing since the night before and not having taken any thyroxine for 24hrs. And they should be testing TSH, free T4 and free T3.

If they don't test fT4 and fT3 together it's a pointless test. Then when the results are in, being in range means nothing. The free T's need to be in the top 3rd or even quarter and once on Levothryoxine your TSH should be 1 or under. Sadly NHS rarely understand any of that. Most of us test ourselves using blood tests from labs we can buy them from and then we treat ourselves and tell the GP what we want when we know it works. It's a right pain. It's a very misunderstood condition and it wreaks lives.

Blame a man named Toft. He was involved in inventing TSH test and responsible for the dogma that if TSH was in range no need for meds. The dogma used to be that there was no need for treatment till TSH topped 10 and never mind how many symptoms of hypo you had. Doctors are no longer trained to recognise subtle signs like non pitting oedema and loss of outer third of eyebrows. I doubt they even recognise "myxie" face any more. My very first thyroid test 27 years ago showed TSH just over range but free T4 below range. My GP in Brum did not recognise that this was a red flag. Did not know that in the early stages of hypothyroidism the rising TSH usually "whips" the thyroid into producing sufficient T4 to keep free T4 in range and my result should have meant more testing at least. I suffered another 7 years before finally getting treatment after a routine set of blood tests at the hospital. TSH had still only risen to 7.5 but the hospital doc flagged it to my GP and said I needed treatment. I decided to educate myself about the thyroid as it was plain my GP had let me suffer by sticking to the orthodoxy.After feeling well on a combo of thyroxine and Liothyronine for many years the latter was stopped after my first bout of afib in 2015. Downhill all the way since. TSH has now risen again to out of range. Putting up T4 has to go very slowly as being floxed has made me more sensitive and I don't want to provoke afib episodes. I wish I could pluck up the courage to try some T3 again.

Oh to be so lucky! I was even prescribed Amioderone with a thyroid problem,as then not properly undiagnosed!

Fascinating reading. I seem to have had the lot! Now wondering if adding T3 to my thyroid drugs is keeping my AF under control and not the Flecainide!👍

jeanjeannie50
jeanjeannie50
in reply to Hylda

It's such a job to know what the best thing to do is in order to benefit our thyroid and AF isn't it! Did you have all the blood tests as recommended by the Thyroid UK forum ladies? How did you know that you needed to supplement with T3?

Jean

Hylda
Hylda
in reply to jeanjeannie50

Had the blood tests, T4 over top of range, T3 almost 50%. TSH always 0.02 so thought I’d give it a go. See EP Wednesday so will have a chat with him xx

jeanjeannie50
jeanjeannie50
in reply to Hylda

My last TSH reading was 2.33 and I'm wondering whether to ask if I can increase my Levo a little. I've read that being hypothyroid can cause AF too, think that was from Isobella Wentz (spelling).

Hylda
Hylda
in reply to jeanjeannie50

Think it should be 1 if you are being treated

jeanjeannie50
jeanjeannie50
in reply to Hylda

Thank you, will arrange a blood test at docs.

Your TSH is too high for someone on Levo Jean. You won't know the status of your T3 unless you have a marvellous GP who instructs the lab to do it or you do it yourself. Low T3 is bad for everything. Cardiologists usually freak out about it though. I have heard EP's can be more understanding.

Thank you for that info.

I'm seeing a nurse this afternoon for an INR blood test. I'll ask her if I can have a thyroid test. Think I may have to go for one of the private blood tests to get the full one carried out, as the lab that tests blood for this area is not happy to do the full range. I'll see if the surgery will be willing to take a phial of blood for me to send away. I'm quite good at turning on the charm and grovelling, being extra nice to everyone can bring it's benefits when needed. I live in hope.

Don't have the blood taken late in the day. First thing. And don't take your thyroid meds before you have the blood drawn. You need 24hrs between the test and last dose.

Ok, will do, thank you.

What difference does timing make?

TSH has a daily cycle. It's highest in the morning and lowest in the later afternoon and evening. So if you don't want your dose lowered or you want a raise or just to be diagnosed, you need to drawer blood first thing and don't eat or drink anything but water first. Obviously don't take your day's meds.

Thanks! I usually go fasting as the doc always puts FBG on the blood test prescription as well.

Auriculaire
Auriculaire
in reply to Hylda

How on earth do they let you keep a TSH so low? When I was hospitalised with my first afib attack the cardiologist went apeshit at my underrange TSH even though my free Ts were well in range. He ranted on about T3 as if it was cocaine even though my dose was only what a normal , undamaged thyroid produces. I believe he sent an admonitory letter to my endocrinologist and when I next saw her she did a U turn and said I could not run a practically undetectable TSH anymore . Cardiologists seem to rule the roost.

Hylda
Hylda
in reply to Auriculaire

Just told Dr I feel better like this. Cardiologist said no problem, EP hasn’t mentioned it. 👍

Auriculaire
Auriculaire
in reply to Hylda

You are lucky. Where do you live?

Hylda
Hylda
in reply to Auriculaire

In Hampshire right on the coast!

They don't understand thyroid. They react to anything they have been told affects the heart. To keep a low TSH you have to take it into your own hands.

I was taking a small amount of T3 last year when I went into Afib persistent. Just 12.5mcg You would have thought I'd diced with death to hear them. It had been the first time I felt a bit better in years. I stopped it and focussed on the Levo again. But I can't get my T3 level to rise no matter how how my T4 is, even over range. I'm about to do the DIO2 gene test to see if I have the mutation to show I don't convert.

I too am scared to try T3 again, but mostly because of how they react. It doesn't mean I won't. I pay for a private endo. We will see where I might go next in April when I next see him.

Thanks Jean. Really useful. Complicated reply coming...

I was tested for thyroid issues in hospital after my first af episode in 2006. They found I was slightly hypothyroid but decided not to treat it for fear of exacerbating the af. Many doctors believe/d that only too much thyroxine caused af and that not enough didn't. It was only after my hypothyroid level was extreme (as was the af) that they conceded there was a link.

So... I was recently told I have a fatty liver condition, despite me being tall and skinny and a non drinker (it usually affects overweight heavy drinkers). This is a serious condition which can lead to cirrhosis, liver transplant and cancer. Lo and behold, on reading around it, I have found connections (too complex for here) to thyroid hormone deficiency and heart rhythm...

So... I came upon all this through researching the impact of probiotics on the gut flora, because I was making my own kefir (fermented milk). Long and short of this is that there are known and proven benefits to the endocrine system from improving the balance of what lives in your guts; and that this might ultimately impact on the incidence of af - via changes to the way your body deals with inflammation and to your hormone balance, in particular your adrenaline levels. Home made fermented foods (not pasteurized shop-bought) are the only proven way to do this yourself as far as I can see.

I think this is worth exploring as I haven't seen all these connections made in this way yet, and I am prepared to put this all together in a short paper if people would find it useful (including instructions on making kefir...).

My wife tells me she comes home from work expecting to find me like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia, with the house awash with kefir and me trying to fight it back with a broomstick.

Your last sentence made me laugh. I remember so many years ago when I was aged 18 or 19, taking my young brother to see the film Fantasia and it was quite boring for me to watch, never mind him!

Would love it if you wrote a short paper re hypothyroidism and how to make Kefir.

Jean

The internet is full of instructions for making kefir, which is easy and pleasant. Gut health will not replace a failing thyroid, but can help calm things down if you have Hashimoto's thyroiditis. But then you find a whole load of people with that condition claiming dairy is the devil's spawn so it's still a minefield.

It's true that gut health cannot directly influence the health of the thyroid, but it has been shown to influence autoimmune activity. Given that autoimmune issues, such as, as you say, Hashimoto's and also Grave's disease, constitute a major proportion of hypothyroid illness, then this is very relevant.

Also, much of the research on which these conclusions are based involved the use of probiotic supplements, which have been shown to have limited effect on the levels of nacteria in the gut; whereas use of home made and non- pasteurized probiotics has been shown to lead to significant increases in gut bacteria populations. This seems to me to challenge these research conclusions.

As you say, kefir is a very pleasant (and very inexpensive) food, as is homemade 'real' yoghurt. If somebody told me I had an outside chance of helping my hypothyroidism and subsequent af through eating yoghurt every day I'd give it a shot.

If you read what I said you will see I said it might help Hashimoto's sufferers. It certainly won't help people with central hypothyroidism or non-autoimmune thyroid conditions.

All fermented foods are good for us. I eat a lot of it because my husband makes all sorts. I doubt it will ever help my Afib or my thyroid as I don't have Hashimoto's.

I’m dairy intolerant but find kefir very helpful, I’ve been making & taking it for about 3 years now but take it for gut health.

Jean - kefir, Kumboocha are really easy to make - I can supply both dairy & water grains so if you fancy meeting for a coffee/lunch in Exeter after we are home I can bring you some.

That sounds good, will send you a private message.

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