Hypothyroidism increases mortality risk among heart failure patients. Researcher Dr. Connie Rhee said, “Our data suggest that mild hypothyroidism may, in fact, be harmful in specific populations, including people with heart failure. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach may not be appropriate for assessing risk and determining whether treatment is required for subclinical hypothyroidism.”
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough hormones and roughly 9.5 million individuals nationwide live with hypothyroidism.
The retrospective cohort study used data from 14,130 participants in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The researchers identified 749 participants with hypothyroidism of which 691 had the subclinical form.
Rhee concluded, “This study is the first to show that African Americans who have hypothyroidism face a greater risk of death than patients of other racial and ethnic groups. This elevated risk exists despite the fact that hypothyroidism is less common in the African American population compared to other groups. More research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the underlying reasons why hypothyroidism has a differential impact on people of different race and ethnicity.”
Untreated hypothyroidism and the risk of cardiovascular disease
Thyroid hormones are important for normal bodily functions, including the myocardial function, lipoprotein metabolism, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD). Researcher Dr. Ladenson said, “Untreated hypothyroidism can exert effects on myocardial performance and atherosclerotic heart disease risk.
Thyroid hormone deficiency can lead to heart failure. Mechanisms include bradycardia, reduced left ventricular contractility, diastolic dysfunction, and increased systemic resistance.
Dr. Ladenson concluded, “The final step will be a prospective randomized trial to confirm that thyroid hormone treatment of subclinical hypothyroidism really does reduce risks of ischemic heart disease events and mortality.”