Heart stumbling through the thyroid gland


Cardiac stumbling is the term used to describe extra heart beats outside the normal heart rhythm. In technical jargon they are called extrasystoles. They often occur in young people with healthy hearts, and triggers or causes cannot always be found. Certain thyroid diseases can, however, favor the (frequent) occurrence of heart palpitations. If the thyroid disease is treated, the extrasystoles often also disappear.

The reasons

Heart stumbling caused by a disease of the thyroid gland is almost always an overactive thyroid. An overactive thyroid can have various causes. One of the most common is an autoimmune disease called Graves' disease. In this process, antibodies are produced that attach to the thyroid receptors and stimulate thyroid hormone production.

Autonomy of the thyroid, i.e. a kind of decoupling of individual thyroid areas from normal regulation, can lead to an overactive thyroid. In addition, inflammation of the thyroid gland or other autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis can lead to temporary overactivity of the thyroid gland with increased thyroid hormone production.

The symptoms of an overactive thyroid? Find out more about this here.

The overactive thyroid

If there is an overactive thyroid, this can be the cause of cardiac stumbling. As mentioned above, various diseases can cause the thyroid to become overactive.

If there is an increased production of thyroid hormones in the context of hyperfunction, this has various effects on the body. Basically you can say that thyroid hormones activate the body. If the thyroid gland produces too many hormones, the body is permanently overactivated. This can show up in various cardiac arrhythmias, including heart stumbling.

Find out all about the topic here: The overactive thyroid.

The hypothyroidism

If the thyroid is underactive, the thyroid gland produces too few thyroid hormones. This can lead to various symptoms such as weight gain, increased feeling of cold or hair loss. Palpitations are not a typical symptom of an underactive thyroid.

Other accompanying symptoms

If the heart stumbling occurs as part of an overactive thyroid, other accompanying symptoms may exist. An excess of thyroid hormones causes the body to be overactive. In addition to heart stumbling and other types of cardiac arrhythmias, symptoms such as restlessness, nervousness, mood swings, tremors, sweating, sleep disorders, weight loss despite increased appetite, racing heart and high blood pressure occur.

Read on here: The symptoms of an overactive thyroid.

The diagnosis

In order to make the diagnosis of cardiac stumbling due to a thyroid disease, the extrasystoles must first be detected in an EKG. Often this is not possible in a normal EKG because the recording time of the heart action is only a few seconds and extrasystoles usually occur much less frequently. It is therefore advisable to derive a 24-hour ECG, here the heart stumbling can then possibly be verified.

In order to determine a thyroid dysfunction, a blood sample must be taken with the determination of thyroid values. If there is an overactive thyroid and frequent cardiac stumbling occurs, it can be assumed that both are related. However, the causality cannot be proven with certainty.

The treatment

If the thyroid glands stumble, the thyroid dysfunction - usually an overactive thyroid - must be treated. This treatment takes place through different measures, depending on the triggering cause. If Graves' disease is present, the treatment is usually medicated. Medicines are used that inhibit the production of thyroid hormones, they are known as anti-thyroid drugs. The medication usually has to be taken for at least a year. If recurrences (recurrence of the disease) occur after stopping the medication, surgery or what is known as radioiodine therapy may be necessary.

An operation with removal of the overactive part of the thyroid is the therapy method of choice even with autonomy. For many patients, however, radioiodine therapy is also an option. This is a type of radiation therapy in which the overactive tissue is irradiated by taking radioactive iodine.

Beta blockers can be used to quickly treat the unpleasant symptoms that occur as part of an overactive thyroid, such as heart palpitations. However, they do not serve to eliminate the cause, but only to alleviate symptoms.

For more information, read the following articles:

  • The therapy of hyperthyroidism
  • The anti-thyroid drugs


The prognosis for heart stumbling caused by the thyroid gland is usually good. In most cases, palpitations have no negative effects on the body other than that they can be uncomfortable for the person concerned.

Nonetheless, the underlying disease, hyperthyroidism, must be treated as it can otherwise lead to serious damage.

The course of the disease

With adequate treatment of the hyperthyroidism, heart stumbling caused by the thyroid gland usually disappears quickly. If the thyroid dysfunction is not treated, the palpitations can recur.