Approximately twenty-five years ago, many cases of hyperthyroidism with cardiac failure were not even diagnosed. Many times the physician failed to appreciate that the cardiac failure resulted from the associated hyperthyroidism.
Heart failure in hyperthyroidism is a manifestation of inability of this organ to meet the abnormal demands of an increased metabolism. Heart failure without hyperthyroidism is a manifestation of inability of this organ to meet the usual demands of a normal rate of metabolism.Thus, a thyrocardiac has a condition precipitated by hyperthyroidism and relieved by cure of the hyperthyroidism. However, people diagnosed with hyperthyroidism or Graves’ Disease and having palpitations not necessarily have thyrocardiac disease and in most cases they don’t.
No conclusive evidence exists that hyperthyroidism damages the heart although it may produce physiologic exhaustion. Thus, the cessation of the abnormal demands of hypermetabolism relieves the unusual strain on the heart, so that when normal conditions return, the heart is capable of carrying on without difficulty.
This is probably one of the most important articles I’ve ever written because palpitations, shortness of breath and hypertension are some of the most typical symptoms of Graves’ Disease and a lot of people are complaining of them. They are often confused with Panic Attack or anxiety disorders, but what happens in practice is that our thyroid is the main cause for these debilitating symptoms.
Usually what the people are experiencing is that your heart is pounding in your chest and you have the feeling of dying. The good news is that it won’t happen unless you have initially some really serious heart complications. These “Graves’ disease palpitations” are happening usually when you are resting, or in bed and that makes them even scarier.
What is happening in practice? Are Graves’ Disease Palpitations a reason for Thyrocardiac Disease?
The bad thing is that you’re also feeling “urged” “forced” (as some patients explain) to move constantly around your house, office, you picking up and moving things, cleaning, arranging, organizing, talking- all at the same time.
Something is like forcing you run around like a “chicken with the head cut off”, as I like to say. You don’t know what to do and you are panicking even more. Your breath becomes shorter; you feel like you can’t really breathe, your pulse is probably over 100 (usually it shouldn’t be). I personally know the feelings very well because I have been there.
There are a few things you can do here to prevent Graves’ Disease palpitations. I’ve found that Lemon Balm tea calms my heart very quickly. Same is done by Valerian Roots tea, or a combination of both. Make sure that you are not going to drive soon after that!
Meditation in a long term run is the best medication I found so far. meanwhile, you can ask your doctor to prescribe you some beta- blockers (medication that is usually prescribed for anxiety symptoms and panic like symptoms). I have no idea why some of the doctors usually don’t do it.
As per what you need to do on the spot when the palpitations hit, here are some emergency techniques you can use right there:
First- stop! The worst thing you can do is to keep being active and trying to discharge the pressure which is building up in your body. It is a natural reaction of your body, but the logic does not work here and in that way.
The movement and “doing” won’t make you feel better. You got to stop right there whatever you are doing. The only way to stop your palpitations is by “no activity”. Here are some recommendations for you:
If you are in your office:
– Go to the back room, rest room whatever you have there where you’ll be alone for at least a few minutes.
– Explain to your boss/clients/co-workers that you need a few minutes break- they will understand.
– Lock the door (if possible) and switch off the phone.
– Sit on a chair, put your feet on the ground and lay your back on the chair so you can have a full contact with the floor, back of the chair and feel supported. Make yourself comfortable.
– Put your palms on your thighs, legs and close your eyes.
– Concentrate on the feeling of your palms- what is warmer- your palms or your thighs? This will switch your attention to something different rather than your heart palpitations.
– Breath in- count to 4
– Hold your breath- count to 4
– Breath out – count to 4. Concentrate on your breath. Breath in. Breath out.
– Do that breathing exercise at least 20 times and sit down for at least 15- 20 min (if you can of course)
If you are at home:
– rest in bed for at least 20 minutes
– do the same breathing exercise
– make a cup of lemon balm tea and chamomile (valerian roots will make you sleepy). Usually these herbs are found in any food store, but check with an herbalist if in doubt.
The main thing is: do not move, do not run, do not talk. The more you do this exercise, the more of control you’ll be regarding your Graves’ Disease palpitations and the shortness of breath. The world won’t be over if you allow yourself a break and this is what you need most.
In a long term plan: you need a real vacation, time off and paying more attention to yourself. The key factor when treating Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism is become more aware of yourself, what you need and what you want. Since you probably are the type of person who takes care for the others, takes more responsibility than you can handle and usually is not very attentive to your own health and needs- this probably will be the most challenging part of your healing from Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism.
You need to learn how to ask other people for help, delegate responsibilities and be truthful to yourself and the people surrounding you.
Your body is speaking, listen to it!