Thyroid Hormones Linked to Heart Disease Risk
A new study suggests high levels of thyroid hormone in older adults are associated with an increased risk for atherosclerosis—hardening or narrowing of the arteries. Atherosclerosis is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
Study results, which were recently presented at a meeting of the Endocrine Society in Florida, indicate that levels of free thyroxine—also called free T4 (FT4)—can be used to help identify middle-aged and older adults at increased risk for developing atherosclerosis. The study involved 9,231 people with an average age of 64.7 years, over the course of about eight years.
More studies are needed, but according to researchers, high levels of FT4 are linked to a higher risk of heart attack and stroke, independent of other known risk factors for heart disease. Higher levels of thyroid hormone are also associated with an increased risk for subclinical atherosclerosis—arterial plaque that can be detected but has not led to a cardiovascular event.
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