Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped endocrine gland located at the bottom of your throat. Your thyroid produces a hormone called Triiodothyronine, also known as T3, and some amount of T3 converts to Thyroxine also called T4. T3 and T4 are responsible for various body functions, and a few of them include metabolism, growth, heart rate, and your ability to concentrate.
There are two main types of thyroid disorders: hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. It is a well-known fact that thyroid problems can adversely affect your metabolism. But most people are not aware of the link between hypothyroidism and high blood pressure or hypertension.
Your thyroid condition is said to be balanced when your thyroid gland produces the right amount of hormones for the efficient functioning of your organs. But thyroid problems arise when your thyroid produces either a higher or lower volume of hormones than normal.
When your thyroid gland produces excess hormones, it leads to a thyroid condition called overactive thyroid. This thyroid condition is also known as hyperthyroidism. On the other hand, if your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, it creates an underactive thyroid condition known as hypothyroidism.
Thyroid problems like hypothyroidism may not display observable symptoms in the early stages. Instead, it develops and makes an appearance over time, and left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause several health problems, and a few of them include obesity, infertility, joint pain, and cardiovascular diseases.
The symptoms of hypothyroidism vary, depending on the individual and the severity of the hormonal imbalance. First, let’s examine some of the common symptoms of hypothyroidism.
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair
- Higher sensitivity to temperature
- Puffed up face
- Higher blood cholesterol level
Risk Factors of Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism develops and creates health issues in anyone, but you are in a high-risk category if you:
- Are a woman over 60 years of age
- Have Genetic history of thyroid disease
- Suffer from an autoimmune disease like diabetes or celiac disease
- Have undergone cancer treatment (radiation)
- Have taken thyroid medications or thyroid surgery (thyroidectomy)
- Are pregnant or embraced motherhood within the past six months
Can Thyroid Problems Cause Hypertension?
Both thyroid disorders — hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism — cause hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure. Hypertension measures the force of your blood flow on your artery walls. Everybody has fluctuating blood pressure throughout the day, but the blood pressure stays higher in people suffering from hypertension.
Hypertension, often labeled a ‘silent killer,’ comes with modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. A few modifiable risk factors are unhealthy diets (excessive sodium, saturated fats, and trans-fat consumption and lesser intake of fruits and vegetables), sedentary lifestyle, consumption of alcohol and tobacco, and being obese or overweight.
Genetic history of hypertension, over 65 years of age, and suffering from diseases like diabetes or kidney ailments come under non-modifiable risk factors.
High blood pressure may not have visible symptoms. So, most people are ignorant about the problem even if they have it. This situation calls out the need for frequent blood pressure checks.
Here are some of the common symptoms of high blood pressure.
- Early morning headaches
- Irregular heartbeats
- Blurry vision
- Buzzing ears
Acute hypertension can cause muscle tremors, chest pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and anxiety. It can cause heart ailments, stroke, or even death in some cases. Usually, medications, treatments, and lifestyle changes can be used to bring high blood pressure under control.
Can Hypothyroidism Raise Blood Pressure?
In the case of hyperthyroidism, when a larger volume of thyroid hormone is produced, your heart is forced to work harder than usual. As a result, this thyroid condition increases your heart rate and blood pressure. As a result, hyperthyroidism is a common thyroid disorder that can cause hypertension in a person.
On the other side, when minimal thyroid hormones are produced during hypothyroidism, it weakens your heart muscle and slows your heart rate, damages your heart’s capacity to pump blood, and stiffens your vascular walls. These health risk factors can lead to hypertension, also known as hypothyroid blood pressure. Hypothyroidism is the leading factor of hypertension in three percent of patients with high blood pressure.
Triiodothyronine (T3) Test to Determine Hypertension and Thyroid Disorders
Triiodothyronine (T3) Test is a blood test to measure the Triiodothyronine or T3 levels in your blood. You have seen that T3 and T4 are the main hormones produced by your thyroid.
Usually, a T3 test is prescribed along with T4 and TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) blood tests. The T4 and TSH test results are often compared with T3 test results to help diagnose thyroid disease. Although the T3 blood test is often used to diagnose hyperthyroidism, it also diagnoses hypothyroidism. Therefore, this blood test is also helpful in monitoring hypertension and thyroid disease treatments.
If your T3 test results display higher than normal T3 levels, it means you have hyperthyroidism, and it’s time to take a close watch on your high blood pressure levels. On the flip side, if the T3 test result reveals lower than expected T3 levels, you have hypothyroidism, and chances are high that you may develop hypothyroid blood pressure.
A Few Tips to Reduce the Burden of Hypothyroid Blood Pressure
If your high blood pressure results from another medical condition like renal problems, pregnancy, or thyroid disorders, it is known as secondary hypertension. It differs from primary hypertension or, simply, high blood pressure. This is because the proper treatment of secondary hypertension should control the high blood pressure and the underlying medical condition, reducing the risk of other serious health issues like cardiovascular and renal complications.
If thyroid problems cause the triggers for your high blood pressure, dietary and lifestyle changes never bring a solution to the problem; neither do medications or treatments.
If the diagnosis finds that hypothyroidism and high blood pressure are connected in your case, the usual high blood pressure treatments or medications never work. However, to lower your high blood pressure, you must treat your underlying thyroid condition and anti-hypertension medicines and treatments.
If you try to reduce hypertension, it would be worth the effort. Bringing your high blood pressure under control will prevent heart attack, stroke, kidney damage, and various other health issues.
You can bring down your high blood pressure in two ways: prevention and management.
- Reduce salt (sodium) intake (below 5g daily).
- Eat more fruit and vegetables.
- Get physically active regularly.
- Avoid tobacco and alcohol.
- Avoid foods high in trans fats.
- Eliminate or reduce saturated fats in the diet.
- Reduce and manage your stress.
- Check your blood pressure frequently.
- Treat your high blood pressure.
- Manage your medical conditions.