Now for the bad news: Thyroid health, Part 4

Oct 6, 2023 | 0 comments

Author’s note: Many subjects will be covered in this four-article series about thyroid health and healthy metabolism. In Part 1, we covered iodine requirements, associated drugs, self-care, medical and home treatment, and medical repercussions are covered. Although it is hard to cover every piece of information, a broad overview will be provided in each section. Low thyroid issues are prevalent in many patients. Part 2 went in-depth with more information about the function and problems of the thyroid. In Part 3 we discussed the use and functions of medications T2 & T3 & T4 as well as doctors’ information. Today, in Part 4, we conclude with the “Bad News”.

By Garnett Stewart

Let’s consider the bad news about poor thyroid health.

  • Obesity
  • Cardiac rhythm changes
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Blood clotting
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Death

All of these conditions above can be related to chronic and untreated hypothyroidism.  

Assume you begin to feel lightheaded, dizzy, and your chest tightens. You reason, “I’ll wait and see if this improves.”  Your blood pressure is consistent. Finally, after much deliberation, a spouse or friend insists that you go to the ER, where you are told in Spanish that you have unstable angina and atrial fibrillation.

In July 2023, I heard this situation three times from fellow expats.

Atrial Fibrillation typically arises from hypothyroidism in conjunction with other factors.

New-onset Atrial Fibrillation typically arises from hypothyroidism in conjunction with other factors. Keep in mind that I come from the empirical field of medicine. All of my new-onset Atrial Fibrillation patients were given T4 levothyroxine and Iodine since they were most likely deficient in iodine. Their thyroid began to fail to satisfy their needs. We made this decision a protocol at the Texas Heart Institute and my doctors would forget the iodine! Yet in my opinion lack of iodine was the precursor.

Many elderly people get Atrial Fibrillation as their initial hypothyroid sign. The fact that they had gained weight and had dry skin was noted but downplayed. “I am just getting old.” They felt weariness, listlessness and very cold all the time.

Usually, they are told the diagnosis in the emergency room.  They were warned that it was serious, but most people do not understand it in English. It can be frightening when confronted in Spanish. See the preceding list.

When I worked at the Texas Heart Institute (THI), Dr. Denton Cooley was the chief surgeon. Dr Cooley was the first surgeon ever to perform heart surgery in Johns Hopkins. I was his first “team” nurse, and I was expected to be as medically knowledgeable as any THI cardiologist. Additionally, I worked with a cardiologist who created the textbook on how to be a cardiologist. I worked with the medical engineer who created many of the cardiac tools of today.

To be honest, I routinely taught pertinent cardiology, EKG interpretation, and drug administration to our residents and fellows. They had no concept how crucial Iodine (and Boron) were for the thyroid to function properly.

The atriums are at the top of the heart and the ventricles are at the bottom, resulting in four chambers. The heart contracts and transports a small pool of blood from one chamber to the next, into and out of the lungs, and then aggressively pumps blood throughout the body, brain and the heart itself.  The top fills and contracts, which causes the bottom to contract, and so on.

If the heart’s electrical is damaged, the signal to the upper chamber to fill and contract becomes erratic. Inefficient and irregular. The EKG seems to be a wavy line, with a normal central QRS wave. The puddle of blood never completely exits the atrium.

Clots form to protect our lives from damage and death. We would perish from bleeding at birth if clots did not exist.

In this case of Atrial Fibrillation, the clot mechanism designed to save lives creates clots, which cause all of the symptoms listed. We actually produce the clots that can lead to our own mortality. Our bodies may seriously hinder us by making clots in the stagnant pool of blood.

There are three treatments:

*Electrically converting the rhythm (using the paddles)

*Electrically converting the rhythm with IV electricity (ATP or adenosine) *Medications to control the adverse effects termed anticoagulants, and aspirin, and addressing the reason for this problem.

I rarely (if ever) heard any of these exceptional THI doctors discuss Iodine plus levothyroxine. I instructed them and often they referred this patient care to my attention. A very sad fact is the USA doctors have hours of nutrition where nurses have semesters. With my degree in biochemistry, the doctors relied on my knowledge to round out the patient care plan.

Iodine was in our salt in the United States, but as previously said, it is NOT in most Ecuadorian salt.

Sal Yodada, White Sea Salt Yodada, and Pink Himalayan sea salt Yodada are all available.  See Part one again.

I hope you were inspired by the four sections of my post on Iodine and your metabolism and wellness. I hope it was beneficial to you and your family. And please help others who are less informed.

My suggestion is that you cook the rice, pasta or potatoes daily in white iodized salt. Or in the water used to cook your vegetables. It is cheap and easy to use. However, I do love all the extra minerals in sea salt so I have and use both daily in moderation.

Be well. Be safe and remember more is not better! Excesses are problems over time just as much as deficiencies.

Garnett Stewart is a permanent resident of Ecuador. She is a retired Adult Medicine Nurse Practitioner with a specialty in Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery and is the author of several published articles. She holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in nursing. Her undergraduate university studies focused on biochemistry and biophysics. She can be contacted at


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