The connection between Hashimoto’s and increased heart risk
Sometimes autoimmune disease can attack the heart tissue and cause heart disease. These people may not have the usual risks of high cholesterol or high blood pressure. However, people with Hashimoto's low thyroid should pay attention as having one autoimmune disease raises the risk of others, including autoimmunity to the heart. If you have Hashimoto’s low thyroid, it’s important to use functional medicine to manage it so you don’t raise the risk of autoimmunity to the heart.
Autoimmunity is a disorder in which the immune system attacks and destroys body tissue. It is one of the most common diseases today and a leading cause of death and disability. It can affect any part of the body. Common autoimmune disease include Hashimoto’s low thyroid, multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis.
In autoimmune disease, the disorder lies not in the tissue being attacked but in an imbalanced immune system.
Autoimmune disease in the heart
A blood serum antibody panel can check for antibodies to myocardial peptide or alpha-myosin to see if you have heart autoimmunity. If the condition is advanced, your doctor may diagnose you with myocarditis (heart inflammation) or cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart).
Autoimmunity is usually progressive and in its early stages may not express signs or symptoms. However, testing may still show positive antibodies long before symptoms arise.
Symptoms of autoimmune heart disease to watch out for include shortness of breath, chest pain, decreased ability to exercise, fluid retention, tiring easily, and an irregular heartbeat.
Other autoimmune diseases that raise heart disease risk
Failing to manage autoimmune disease significantly raises heart disease risk. For instance, people with lupus are up to eight times more likely to develop heart disease, making it the leading cause of death in patients with lupus. The disease most commonly inflames the pericardium, the sac that surrounds the heart.
Additionally, Sjögren’s syndrome and psoriasis more than double heart attack risk.
Chronic inflammation and steroid use are other factors related to autoimmunity that raise heart disease risk.
If you do not intervene to manage cardiovascular autoimmune disease, the result can be inflammation, scarring, and, in rare cases, sudden death. The lungs, liver, and other organs may be affected.
Doctors do not screen for autoimmunity unless symptoms are severe. However, you can identify an autoimmune reaction with a blood serum antibody panel that screens for multiple autoimmunities, including Hashimoto’s low thyroid.
This panel screens for immune antibodies myocardial (a protein the heart releases in response to stress) or alpha-myosin (cardiac tissue). Positive results indicate the immune system is attacking heart tissue. A more advanced condition may include a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, or disease of the heart muscle.
Heart autoimmunity and Hashimoto’s low thyroid
You can use functional medicine to slow or halt the progression of Hashimoto’s low thyroid through proven diet, lifestyle, and nutritional therapy strategies. You should also regularly monitor your heart health.
Gluten linked with heart autoimmunity
Gluten intolerance and celiac disease are linked with cardiomyopathy in studies. Some people are able to improve the condition, sometimes profoundly, with a gluten-free diet. Screen for gluten sensitivity with advanced testing. Studies also link gluten sensitivity with Hashimoto’s low thyroid, so it’s important to avoid gluten when you have thyroid autoimmunity.
Ask about my office about functional medicine strategies to manage Hashimoto’s low thyroid and heart autoimmunity.
One of the main goals at RedRiver Health and Wellness Center is to work with patients to improve their health, wellbeing, and quality of life. The RedRiver Health and Wellness Center team is passionate about helping ailing patients achieve optimal health, and we truly care about the success of each and every patient.
RedRiver chiropractic physicians are great advocates for prescribing physicians and endocrinologists. In fact, many of our patients see their prescribing physician(s) more frequently while under our care than they would otherwise. Our goal is not to replace our patients’ primary care physicians and specialists, but to complement their care by providing patients with nutrition, diet, lifestyle and educational support and strategies. This way, patients can learn to manage their symptoms more efficiently. We have developed rewarding relationships with many prescribing physicians across the country, and we strive to continue to building relationships with MDs, DOs, NPs, and NMDs. When health professionals can work together for the benefit of the patient’s health, it becomes a win/win situation for the one who matters most—the patient.