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Question:

Hypothyroidism and anxiety and palpitations

Dear Ask The Doctor:
Can hypothyroidism cause anxiety and racing heart? I understand that usually this is a symptom of hyperthyroidism, and I am not confused. My TSH is high. Since it has been high, I have felt racing heart, and increase irritability and anxiety. Any help would be greatly appreciated!


Answer:

The thyroid secretes two main hormones T3 and T4 .These are considered metabolic hormones. In hypothyroidism typically since T3 and T4 are low in production this causes a reverse increase in Thyroid stimulating hormone ( TSH) . However racing heart and anxiety and irritability are classically symptoms of hyperthyroidism in which TSH is low and T3 and T4 are increased. However some other heart conditions like arrythymias ( disturbance in the rhythm of the heart) can cause  palpitations( heart racing ) and anxiety. There are also other conditions like anxiety/panic attacks, low blood glucose ect that can cause similar symptoms.
I would advice you to contact your family physician for a thorough check up and the following tests: CBC, repeat TSH, Free T3 levels, blood glucose, and an ECG to see your heart rhythm.



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