Can Hyperthyroidism Cause High Blood Pressure?

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Most cases of hypertension (high blood pressure) are essential hypertension which typically closely associated with diet and lifestyles. But there is also another type of hypertension medically called secondary hypertension. Unlike in essential type, secondary type is much more associated with certain certain health problem (though lifestyle factors also have an effect). Kidneys disease ranks at the top cause in secondary type. Other causes include thyroid problem (such as hyperthyroidism), sleep apnea, adrenal gland problems, tumors, abusing alcohol, pregnancy, and certain types of birth control pills.

What is thyroid?

You can find it just below the Adam’s apple (at the base of your neck). It is not more than an ounce.

Though thyroid is very small in size but it is vital and very important to help regulate your metabolism.

Almost all aspects of the metabolism in your body are influenced by this bow-shaped gland. Even the hormones released by thyroid can affect each cell of your body. So overall, it’s very important for your body to have a healthy thyroid because it has a significant impact on your health.

In general, there are two major hormones produced by thyroid. They are T-3 (triiodothyronine) and T-4 (thyroxine). The following are some crucial functions of these hormones:

  1. They can regulate the rate on how much your body will use carbohydrates and fats.
  2. Your heart rate is another thing that is also closely associated with the amounts of T-3 and T-4 released by thyroid.
  3. They are needed by your body to help regulate the rate of how much protein will be produced in the body.
  4. They also have crucial function to help your body in regulating the body temperature.

Furthermore, calcitonin is another kind of hormone produced by thyroid. It can affect the amount of Ca (calcium) in the blood stream.

Below is a picture of where you can find your thyroid at base of your neck (image credit to Mayo Clinic):


Hyperthyroidism – what actually is it?

There are two major thyroid problems; hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.

While hyperthyroidism is medical term used to call overactive thyroid (the condition of when the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormones ‘much higher than your body needs’), hypothyroidism is a medical term used to call underactive thyroid (the opposite site of overactive thyroid – in other words, hypothyroidism points to the condition of when the thyroid is not able to produce thyroid hormones that meet to the body needs ‘too low’).

Both overactive and underactive thyroid can affect the blood pressure.

While overactive thyroid can be potential to have contribution in causing hypertension, underactive thyroid ‘particularly at advanced stage such as myxedema’ is more likely to cause hypotension (low blood pressure).

Overactive thyroid problem is more common in women than in men – which women in the age of 20-40 are at highest risk. The symptoms may vary from person to person.

image_illustration23But generally if the symptoms do occur, they may include:

  1. You may experience brittle hair.
  2. Problem in sleeping – such as difficulty sleeping.
  3. Weight loss without known reason. Even when you still have normal appetite or there is no any change with the amount of food you eat daily, weight loss is one of common symptoms that can occur if you have overactive thyroid.
  4. Increased sensitivity to the temperature changes.
  5. Easier to get sweating.
  6. Trembling fingers /hands.
  7. Muscles weakness /easier to get fatigue.
  8. Changes in bowel movements, such as diarrhea.
  9. Mood changes, particularly such as anxiety, nervousness, and irritability.
  10. Overactive thyroid also can affect the fertility.
  11. Changes in heartbeats. These can include increased heart rates that can be more than 100 beats /minute, and irregular heartbeats.
  12. Changes in menstrual periods (in women). If you are a woman, this symptom can be noticed clearly when you have regular periods before.
  13. Skin thinning.
  14. Goiter (a medical condition to describe an enlarged thyroid gland). If you have it, it can be noticed as a swelling at the base of the neck.

How does hyperthyroidism have contribution to cause high blood pressure?

In general, there may be no direct link between overactive thyroid and hypertension.

But some studies found that there are several factors why overactive thyroid can be potential to cause secondary hypertension. Furthermore in fact, many experts agree that thyroid problems can increase the risk of developing secondary hypertension.

Changes in heart beats

One of complications from overactive thyroid if left untreated is heart problems.

These include increased heartbeats, atrial fibrillation or irregular heartbeats, and even life-threatening condition such as congestive heart failure (a situation when the heart is not able to pump blood that meets to the body needs) may also occur. Fortunately, with appropriate medication, these serious complications can be prevented and treatable.

And when it comes to the issue about the link between hypothyroidism and hypertension, the increased heartbeats due to overactive thyroid can be the reasonable answer.


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