Atrial Fibrillation and hypothyroid disease

I have been hypothyroid for at least 10 years although I wasn't party to my results and my family doc insisted that my thyroid was normal, although my cholesterol was really high and I was exhausted all the time and incredibly depressed. In so many words I already had many symptoms. Another strange symptom I had was my heart would appear to beat very hard at rest, when napping or going to bed at night, not when I was walking around.

My GP did various EKGs on me and said it was menopause, and my heart was fine!!!!

Last year, my symptoms were so bad that I went back to her and I had Hashimotos and she began treatment .

By August I was somewhat better, but was gaining weight every month, and my heart problems got worse and worse. I also developed gastric problems Etc.

I left my GP and Endo, and went to a great Doc, Dr. Fred Hui on Toronto, he changed me to desiccated thyroid and a good dose which I worked up to180, so six pills of 30 each a day. I also went to a heart specialist and wearing a holter monitor twice, I was diagnosed with Atrial fibrillation. On reaching my present dose of desiccated thyroid, my atrial fibrillation is nearly gone.

Most GPs have no idea about Thyroid disease as they simply go by your TSH, which with Hashimotos does not reflect how you actually are as the antibodies bind the thyroid hormones and stop them from getting absorbed into your cells. So even if your TSH does not appear to be high, if you have symptoms and have Hashimotos you need treatment.

When on Synthroid, and the low dose of 85mgs where they were going to keep my, my symptoms just kept getting worse, even though I was treated as the dose was way too low, even though my TSH was about 3.

The normal range is just that. Most healthy people have a TSH of less than 2.

My Endo was just as ill informed as my GP. Between the two of them I was going to become and invalid for the rest of my life. Even though I continued to gain weight and ended up with a pseudo blockage in my bowel, they had no idea of the symptoms I had, and were ready to send me to ever more specialists, when all I needed was the right dose of thyroid replacement.

I urge all of you who are still not well because of your Doc to seek out another more well informed doctor to take care of you.

The TSH is the one test that all the regular docs go by and not your symptoms.

I had been a healthy woman who was always slim and active, with low cholesterol and low blood pressure.

In five years, I had developed high Cholesterol, my blood pressure was also on the rise, I was suicidal with depression, and on high doses of antidepressants, which did no good. I developed Sleep Apena, intestinal problems and my Atrial Fibrillation took a real tole on me. Only 4% of Hypothyroid patients developed atrial Fibrillation, I was one of them.

An EKG is a useless exam as it shows 28 seconds of your heart. So if they do that on you, it means nothing.

With the right dose of desiccated thyroid meds for me, every symptom that I had has gone away and I am losing the weight I put on, as I was heading for type 11 diabetes, and probably heart failure.

Being even sub clinically hypothyroid can cause serious heart disease. It is very important to have your TSH tested, and if you have symptoms to be treated right away, as this will take the extra burden off your heart. Diana

Edited February 6, 2010 at 10:38 am

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Thanks for all the info, and I'm glad that you found a good doctor who listened to you and found the correct treatment.
I have asked about hypothyroid as part of the cause of my Afib, and was tested--told by a number of doctors that my thyroid test are optimal. I had also been gaining weight, but my cholesterol levels were good. I was also told I was perimenopausal, and the EKG's showed nothing. It wasn't until I was hospitalized with extremely irregular v-tach that didn't go away, that I was finally diagnosed with AFib. I have long-lasting episodes at least once a month, sometimes more frequently. Two cardiologists later, I finally got a holter that showed I have minor episodes several times a day. I still think that my thyroid is a little low. My Mom has been on thyroid med for as long as I can remember because she has low thyroid. I am losing weight, but it is a tough fight. My cholesterol has doubled, but my diet has improved and I exercise. So, the question is still there in my mind--could it be low thyroid that is causing some of this, even though my TSH levels are fine.
Thanks again.

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So glad to see your post. My 17 year old daughter was 11 when we noticed a significant goiter protruding from her neck. My mother had Hashimoto's, Graves disease and eventually thyrid cancer so we didn't hesitate to get her to a doctor. Her thyroid antibodies were over 1200 when she was diagnosed with Hashimoto's. Through the years, her TSH and T3 and T4 all run perfect 98% of the time. But her thyroid antibodies have never gone below 300. I am shocked at how many doctors don't get that as long as there an antibodies present, they indicate the body is in an autoimmune attack on the thyroid! You can't just ignore that. So far, my daughter has been able to remain on a low dose of Levothyroxine. At this time she only takes .75 mcg daily. Recently her periods were really messed up and blood tests indicated she had gone from Hashimoto's into Grave's. But it is so slight she just skips one pill a week. Her periods are still out of whack so they will have to keep tweaking it. Gyno has already done his thing so we just have to play with the meds until we get it right.

Also, when she was about 13, she developed episodes of a racing heart. Her heart would accelerate to a dangerous rate for no reason. Doctors didn't believe it until they put her on a Holter monitor. She was placed on Toprol XL for about 6 months and it went away as suddenly as it had appeared. People don't understand how the thyroid affects literally every cell in your body and doctors still don't understand exactly how.

I have stressed time and again for people to have their thyroid's checked and rechecked again and be sure an antibody test is run at the same time.


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I don't know what your doc thinks is a normal level.
Anything above 2 could mean you are Hyperthyroid.

The limits they set for the TSH are far too high, if you have symptoms. My A Fib Suddenly stopped when I reached a certain level. My New doc does not even bother with the TSH, just the symptoms.

I had mild AFib for years, but after my Myxedema coma it gradually became worse and worse. Even on Synthroid it became worse. My does of 112mgs was not enough for me. So what is your TSH?

I am on dessicated thyroid now, and it is great! Diana

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Sorry, I meant Hypothyroid, not Hyper. Diana

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Remember your daughter is still growing so her weight will change and so her pills need to reflect that.

You are so right, Thyroid disease is very dangerous left untreated, or under treated, and can cause many problems with the heart and the digestive system, and every system in the body. Hashimotos is an up and down disease, and sometimes the thyroid actually works for a time, so it has to be monitored. Diana

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Not one doctor has ever given me the numbers, just told me that they're okay. Also, don't think they ever checked the antibodies. Next time I see the doctor, I'll have to find out.
I have been hearing a lot more frequently about low thyroid that the doctors aren't diagnosing because the "Numbers look good."

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We get her blood work done every 3 - 6 months due to her age. Since she has already had nodules and we have a family history of thyroid cancer, she is monitored closely. Also, her weight has always been on the low side. Hypothyroid means weight gain in most cases, but she remains thin. She also has other autoimmune issues that continue to show themselves. She was just started on Prednisone for a "Lupus like syndrome". She is developing Lupus that this point. Instead of gaining weight in the 2 weeks since she started Prednisone, she has lost 5 pounds, even after we cut one of her weekly Levothyroxine pills to take her back out of hyperthyroid when she went that way.


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My TSH was never above 4.9 but I was in a Myxedema coma from being at that level for nearly five years.

Hashimotos antibodies bind the thyroid hormone and even though your blood work doesn't look bad very little of it is getting to your cells and muscles.My legs gave out and my feet lost their sense of touch and I burned them and never felt it. At 3 my symptoms kept getting worse even on a dose of 112 msg synthroid and I developed an intestinal blockage and my Atrial fibrillation became worse every day. High Cholesterol is a sign of untreated or under treated hypothyroid.

All through the four years I was terribly depressed, I am surprised you are not depressed as that with high cholesterol are some of the first symptoms and feeling exhausted, and weight gain. On Synthroid 112msgs I was still gaining weight at about five pounds a months, so I was under-treated. At that point my TSH was probably 2.8 which still was too high for me.

90% of normal people with normal thyroid function are below 2, 2 being the highest. The labs have a TSH that is way too high.
When I reached my dose which is 180 desiccated thyroid, All my symptoms went. Atrial Fib gone, losing weight at last not tired anymore, no symptoms at all.

My Doc wanted my body temp at 98.6 which I had not been at for years and my TSH at 2 or less I reached my goals. So I had break through symptoms all the time on synthroid, and my symptoms were getting more life threatening every day. Not my previous doc, nor my endo knew enough, nor does my present family doc. Dr. Fred Hui a Doctor and a man who really understands the thyroid and who also has studied in China for ten years understands the thyroid, and how devastating the symptoms are to one's health. I was heading for type 11 diabetes too and God knows what else, and all the traditional docs don't know how the thyroid works. My blood pressure was also on the rise. So I would have been on Cholesterol lowering meds, high blood pressure meds, I was on antidepressants which destroy your rem sleep, and I would have been on diabetes meds, and I needed none of those pills, just the right dose of thyroid replacement, also I am on aspirin and beta blockers.

When I am finished I will only be on Desiccated thyroid and one aspirin a day for good measure. I have cut my Effexor from 300 mgs to 50 and in two months will be finished with my antidepressants altogether.

I am 5'7" and 58 years old. Five years ago I weighed 140# last August after 5 months of treatment I was 175#, which for my frame was way out of normal. I had sleep Apnea too which is very dangerous. No wonder one is tired all the time, and depressed. The weight gain is very dangerous to one's health and no one has a hope in Hell of losing weight while under treated. I not only was getting fat, but I felt incredibly bloated too. Even if you starved yourself you would not lose weight. I am still at a BMI of 25 which is not good, but in a few weeks I hope to have gotten down to a BMI of 24 .

I did allergy testing and found out I was allergic to just about everything I loved to eat. I have cut out all the foods I am allergic to and my bloated stomach is much less now. It was hard to do, but I am sure I will feel better in a month from taking that step.

I have been so scared by how sick I became under the care of my normal doctors, and how easy it becomes to be a person on about six different meds to help with all the side effects of Hypothyroid. Which do not get to the cause, just help with the problem. The cause is simple, get the thyroid treated effectively and all the problems will go away, and you will get your health back. You will have to fight for your health as I did, as my Endo refused to give me a dose above 85msgs of synthroid. She was screaming at me when I left her office and never saw her again. I upped my own dose to 112msgs but that was still not enough. The desiccated thyroid worked better on me, but she refused to prescribe it. Diana

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