Hypothyroidism is a thyroid disease that affects people globally. It is estimated that 20 million Americans have thyroid of which 2-3% have hypothyroidism and 10-15% have mild hypothyroidism. In addition, there are million people worldwide who have not been diagnosed. If left untreated, low thyroid level can affect your heart causing high diastolic (low) blood pressure, High LDL Cholesterol, heart arrhythmias, and many more serious problems. Read here the complete details on High Cholesterol, Low Blood Pressure and Its Effect on Thyroid.
What Is Hypothyroidism/ Low Thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located at the front of your neck. It receives a chemical message called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) from the pituitary gland (located in your brain) which tells the thyroid gland the amount of thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) to secrete into the blood. From here, these hormones are carried into the body’s tissues. These hormones work to maintain the proper functioning of the body’s organs.
Thyroid hormone is important for regulation of body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism. Low thyroid, or hypothyroidism, occurs when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough T3 or T4 affecting every cell and system in your body. Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed with a blood test. You may or may not experience Low Thyroid symptoms as some resemble other health issues.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism/ Low Thyroid
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Poor concentration
- Loss of appetite
- Cold intolerance
- Muscle cramps
- Dry skin and hair
- Depression and more.
More severe symptoms related to hypothyroidism are –
- A slower than normal heart rate
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
What Is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs when the thyroid gland is overproducing hormones. When your thyroid is overactive, your body gets into fast gear causing irregular beats of the heart, trouble sleeping, weakness and feeling nervous and shaky. You may get hyperthyroidism if you have –
- Graves’ disease, an immune system disorder that has genetic links within a family
- Toxic nodular goiter, which involves lumps or nodules on the thyroid
- Thyroid inflammation (thyroiditis)
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
An overactive thyroid or in Hyperthyroidism people experience almost the exact opposite symptoms of low Thyroid –
- Weight Loss
- Fast Heartbeat
- Increased Sensitivity To Heat
- Increase in Appetite
- More Frequent Bowel Movements
- Trouble Sleeping
Understanding High Cholesterol and Low Blood Pressure Numbers
High cholesterol measures 200 mg/dl (milligrams per deciliter of blood) or more. The higher cholesterol numbers about 200 mg/dl or more increases the risk of heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, if cholesterol reaches 240/mg/dl, these people are at twice the risk of having heart problems than people with 200 mg/dl cholesterol levels.
Blood pressure reading of 120/80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) is considered normal. Low blood pressure means that either systolic blood pressure (the top number) measures less than 120 or diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) is less than 80. Some doctors consider low blood pressure only if systolic is lower than 90 mm Hg or diastolic is lower than 60 mm Hg.
High Cholesterol And Its Effect On Thyroid
Cholesterol is the fatty, waxy substance contained in each of your body’s cells. It also circulates in your blood and the body uses it to make hormones and substances to help you digest food. It travels through the bloodstream in two types of lipoproteins – High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is good for your heart. It helps remove cholesterol from your body and protects against heart disease. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is bad for your heart. High levels of LDL cholesterol can clog arteries and put you at risk for heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
If your diet includes foods high in saturated fats, like red meat and butter you can have high cholesterol levels. Sometimes, the thyroid gland may also affect your cholesterol. Too much or too little thyroid hormone can make your cholesterol levels fluctuate.
Hypothyroidism and Cholesterol
Thyroid hormones are important for the body to make cholesterol and eliminate bad cholesterol. When thyroid hormone levels are low (hypothyroidism), your body doesn’t break down and remove LDL cholesterol as efficiently as before, leading to LDL cholesterol build up in your blood.
It is not necessary for the thyroid hormone levels to be very high to increase cholesterol. Even people with mildly low thyroid levels, a condition called subclinical hypothyroidism, can have higher than normal LDL cholesterol. A study found that high TSH levels can directly raise cholesterol levels, even if thyroid hormone levels aren’t high.
Hyperthyroidism and Cholesterol
Hyperthyroidism has the exact opposite effect of Hypothyroidism on cholesterol levels. It causes cholesterol levels to drop to abnormally low level.
Low Blood Pressure And Its Effect On Thyroid
Often the risks associated with high blood pressure are considered more. But having low blood pressure can also pose several health risks. Low blood pressure means oxygen and nutrients are not being sufficiently supplied into the tissues throughout your body, including the brain. Thus, brain and other organs are not getting enough oxygen to function as usual. A normal blood pressure numbers are 120/80 but if the upper or lower number deviates by 10 your blood pressure is in an abnormal range.
Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism And Low Blood Pressure
Hashimoto’s which causes the thyroid to shrink is an autoimmune thyroid disease that causes hypothyroid symptoms. If people with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism are not managing it with functional medicine, they may have additional problems such as poor blood flow and oxygenation, leading to low blood pressure problem.
Proper management of Hashimoto’s not only supports proper thyroid function but also balances the immune system and reduces the autoimmune attack and inflammation of the thyroid gland. This is one way to better manage adrenal fatigue and low blood pressure.
Hyperthyroidism and Blood Pressure
People may see a spike in blood pressure that may result from hyperthyroidism. Usually, high blood pressure is specific to systolic hypertension only. This means that the top number of blood pressure reading gets higher, but the lower number stays the same. For example, if a person had a perfect reading of 120/80 before hyperthyroidism, then it might increase to 140/80 after being diagnosed.
If you have any symptoms related to a thyroid problem, get your cholesterol levels tested and blood pressure checked and see your doctor if needed. Certain dietary changes, improvement in lifestyle and proper medical care can help with thyroid issues, lower your cholesterol and maintain healthy blood pressure levels.