Blood Pressure Problems and Hypothyroidism can go hand-in-hand
Did you know that a poorly functioning thyroid, or inadequate treatment with T4-only medications like Synthroid, Levoxyl, Extroxin, et al, can be a factor in blood pressure problems?
It’s true. A large body of either undiagnosed thyroid patients, or those on the inadequate treatment of T4-only, develop blood pressure problems…sooner or later.
Granted, at first, it’s common to have low blood pressure due to your thyroid disease or being treated with T4 meds. Low blood pressure is caused by a lowered force of blood being pushed through your arteries due to the lowered metabolism of thyroid disease. In this case, the upper number, called the systolic, is lower than it should be.
And having adrenal insufficiency, which is common with hypothyroid, can also create a low circulating blood volume via the loss of salt.
But in time, you will find yourself with high blood pressure.
What causes a turn to having high blood pressure?
Even though many thyroid patients, or those on the poor treatment of T4-only meds like Synthroid, can start out with low blood pressure, factors related to having low blood pressure can create HIGH blood pressure over time. For example, the kidneys fail to filter waste products from your body properly when your pressure is low, and “angiotensin” is produced, which raises your blood pressure. Also, a rise in cortisol from your adrenals as a way to keep you going in the face of a poor thyroid treatment can raise your blood pressure.
In his book, Thyroid Guardian of Health, Dr. Young states
“Also when patients are low thyroid, blood is shunted from the extremities into the body core, which tends to raise pressure by forcing the same volume of blood into a smaller network of vessels. This shunting is brought about by a constriction of peripheral vessels. Hypothyroid patients produce an excess of noradrenalin from the adrenal gland, which constricts blood vessels all over the body, another effort of the body ot combat the low pressure. This in turn is partly related to the effort by the body to raise blood sugar levels when low. Production of Noradrenalin can actually be thirty times normal.“
How high is the risk of getting high blood pressure on T4 meds?
Some statistics show that you have a threefold increased risk of hypertension with your thyroid disease, and that is especially true when your hypothyroidism continues on T4-only meds! So what was once low blood pressure, now takes an insidious turn towards hypertension, or high blood pressure.
When the high blood pressure hits, you can have damage to your blood vessel walls, and the beginning of arteriosclerosis. Your risk for heart attack and stroke increases four-fold.
At this point, most doctors put you on blood pressure medications, since they are quite uneducated about the problem of blood pressure due to lack of diagnosis of thyroid disease thanks to the lousy TSH lab, or poor treatment with T4-only medications.
What is a better solution for high blood pressure for thyroid patients?
The solution is to be adequately treated with an optimal thyroid medication, especially natural desiccated thyroid like Naturethroid, Canada’s “Thyroid” by Erfa, NP Thyroid, Thyroid-S, or other NDT meds. Options for desiccated thyroid brands are here and ingredients are listed here. Even adding synthetic T3 to your T4 is a far better treatment.
You will then dose according to the elimination of symptoms, not the TSH. Patients have learned a great deal on adequate thyroid treatment over the past few years.
Is there a proper way to find my blood pressure?
Yes, there is good literature which tells us that it’s important to measure one’s blood pressure with your arm perpendicular to your body i.e. about the same height as your heart.
Here is Valerie’s story with high blood pressure on T4 and treatment with desiccated thyroid:
“About 9 years ago I was just breaking out of a very dangerous and bad relationship. I had been under extreme stress for the last 4 years and my blood pressure was just going up & up. My doctor said my thyroid was fine (I was on Synthroid 500 mcg) and my labs were “normal”. He said I needed to lose weight (duh) and gave me a restricted salt diet and Atenolol. OK, I cut salt out of everything I ate—none on the table, none to cook with. I stopped eating canned soups and lunch meats. I bought unsalted butter, and soon I became used to eating like that. Yet, my blood pressure continued to climb.
Finally I was on Atenolol, Hydrochlorothiazide, Lopressor, and Triamterene… all for my BP which at this point was 245/138. Yup, I was a stroke waiting for a place to happen! Then I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. At that point, I was desperate. I was reading alot on the Internet and learning more and more about natural desiccated thyroid, which at the time was the pre-reformulated Armour Thyroid. I found a place to order it online without a prescription, and started on it, raising bit by bit to find the elimination of symptoms.
Then I found a website that explained how low sodium could cause fluid retention in the body. Now THIS was enlightening! This was the opposite of what all these doctors (four at the time) had been telling me. So I started taking 1/2 tsp Celtic Sea Salt twice a day in a shot glass of water. Now I am sure it was mostly the Natural Desiccated Thyroid, but I think the salt did have a part too, as my BP slowly started to come down. When I got to 145/100, I dropped the Lopressor. It stayed there, so next month I dropped the Atenolol. Then I started feeling really alot better! So in about 6 more months, I dropped all BP meds and was at a stable 130/79!!! Quite an improvement I’d say!
No more nosebleeds which I had been having regularly before, and the fluid retention just melted away. Now the tissue damage took longer to heal, and my legs hurt for almost a year after the swelling went away, but heal they did and now I have no signs of the horrible heart condition or Hypertension I once had.”
Is the normalization of blood pressure the only benefit of taking desiccated thyroid?
It’s not the only benefit: it’s one of MANY benefits. Switching to desiccated thyroid and dosing correctly will also hugely improve if not remove your depression, bring back a softness to your dry skin and hair, stop the need for afternoon naps, lower your cholesterol to normal levels, improve your immune system, and about one hundred other benefits. Read the stories of others on what desiccated thyroid has done.
Is there a relationship between my blood pressure and aldosterone levels?
Yes, there can be in some. Aldosterone is a steroid produced by your adrenals, and if you end up with high aldosterone, BP can go up. This can happen with chronic stress. Conversely, if your aldosterone falls (which happens to a lot of patients with low cortisol), BP can go down. The diastolic (the bottom number) can often be affected by your aldosterone.
To read more about thyroid hormones and blood pressure:
To understand natural desiccated thyroid, go here.
To see a vast list of continuing hypothyroid symptoms while on T4, go here.
Want to order your own labwork?? STTM has created the right ones just for you to discuss with your doctor. Go here: https://sttm.mymedlab.com/