CENTRAL TEXAS - A new study from the American Heart Association is linking thyroid problems to sudden cardiac death.
An estimated 20 million Americans deal with thyroid problems according to the American Thyroid Association, but this study only targets a certain portion of them.
"They looked at 10,000 people over a long period of time and found a correlation between high levels of thyroid hormone and sudden cardiac death," Cardiovascular Disease Doctor George Rodgers with the Seton Heart Institute said.
During nine years of monitoring, Dutch researchers found people with thyroid hormone levels at the high end of the normal range were 2.5 times more likely to die of sudden cardiac death, compared to patients with levels at the lower end.
The 10-year risk of sudden cardiac death was four times greater in patients with higher thyroid levels compared to those with lower levels. The increased risk was present even without the effects of other risk factors including high cholesterol and blood pressure.
Dr. Rodgers said making sure you monitor your hormone levels is imperative.
"Patients with existing heart disease probably need to be epically careful about this," Dr. Rodgers said.
He recommends if your hormone levels are not normal don't stop a medication, but instead slowly adjust it.
The National Institutes of Health reports almost five percent of Americans have some form of hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid.
Women are more likely than men to have the condition and doctors say thyroid problems can often go undetected because sometimes there are no noticeable symptoms. That's why they recommend doing a thyroid screening at your annual physical.
(© 2016 KVUE)