High levels of thyroid hormone may put older adults at risk for heart disease and death, a recent study showed.

Middle-age and older people with high or high-normal levels of a thyroid hormone called FT4 had double the odds of high coronary artery calcification scores, an indicator of hardening of the arteries.

Elevated FT4 levels were also associated with an 87 percent higher risk of having a stroke or heart attack and double the risk of death related to hardened arteries. FT4 is a hormone produced by the thyroid gland that helps control the rate at which the body uses energy.

The findings indicate that thyroid hormone can help identify older adults at risk of artery calcification.

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