Hypothyroid people will have an unusually slow pulse rate (between forty-five and sixty beats per minute) and blood pressure that may be too high.
More severe or prolonged hypothyroidism could raise your cholesterol levels as well, and this can aggravate blockage of coronary arteries. In severe hypothyroidism, the heart muscle fibers may weaken, which can lead to heart failure. This scenario is rare, however, and one would have to suffer from severe and obvious hypothyroid symptoms long before the heart would be at risk.
But even mild hypothyroidism may aggravate your risk for heart disease if you have other risk cofactors. For example, if you are hypothyroid, it's not unusual to notice chest pain (which may be confused with angina), shortness of breath when you exert yourself, or calf pain (which is caused by dysfunction of the muscles in the leg). Fluid may also collect, causing swollen legs and feet. For more on cardiovascular disease see Chapter 25.
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