Hypothyroidism is a hormone condition that impacts the lives of people throughout the U.S. The condition is associated with a myriad of health conditions and it can cause dramatic fluctuations in blood pressure levels. In order to properly control blood pressure levels, hypothyroidism must be diagnosed and treated by a health care professional.
Hypothyroidism is caused by an underactive thyroid gland. Underactive thyroid glands do not produce enough thyroid hormone to regulate body functioning. Hypothyroidism causes the chemical reactions in the body to become deregulated, which has a great impact on overall health.
The condition greatly impacts women; they are 10 times more likely than men to develop hypothyroidism. There is an increased risk of developing hypothyroidism after age 34; however, women over age 50 have the greatest risk of being diagnosed with the condition. Hypothyroidism can be asymptomatic and often goes undiagnosed for a long period of time. Furthermore, the condition can be misdiagnosed in older women because it mimics the symptoms of menopause.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, 95 percent of thyroid cases are caused by the body's inability to produce thyroxine and triiodothyronine hormones. The two hormones influence heart rate, regulate body temperature and help in the production of protein.
Additional causes of hypothyroidism are radiation treatment, iodine deficiencies, surgical procedures, medication, thyroid surgery, autoimmune and congenital disease, pregnancy and pituitary disorders.
Women with a history of hypothyroidism in their immediate family have a greater risk of developing the condition.
Low Blood Pressure
Thyroid hormones regulate heart rate and impact blood pressure. During low blood pressure periods, the heat rate is reduced to 60 beats per minute. Pushing lower amounts of blood causes the arteries to weaken and stiffen since they are not properly used. The top (systolic) blood pressure number reflects this deficiency and it will be lower than normal.
High Blood Pressure
Hypothyroidism triples the risk of developing high blood pressure, and the effects of low blood pressure lead to the development of high blood pressure. Blood vessels that were stiffened by low blood pressure require the heart to pump more blood to ensure circulation. The force required to increase circulation causes the body to raise blood pressure levels in order to push the blood through the body.
Additionally, low blood pressure causes kidneys to underperform, which leads to high blood pressure. In periods of low blood pressure, the kidneys do not properly remove waste products form the body, causing angiotensin to build up. Angiotensin is a protein that causes the blood pressure to spike when it builds up in the body.
High blood pressure can lead to the development of heart disease. Since hypothyroidism also raises overall levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and the lipids associated with heart disease, people suffering from the condition must carefully monitor their health. Patients with hypothyroid should regularly check their blood pressure and pregnant women must be very careful in monitoring their blood pressure levels.