To understand the connection between high blood pressure and hypothyroidism, let’s first define each disease.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), blood pressure is defined as the force of blood against your artery walls as it circulates through your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can cause health problems if it stays high for a long time.
Read on to know more.
In this article:
- High Blood Pressure Statistics
- The Connection Between High Blood Pressure and Hypothyroidism
- Hypothyroidism: How It Affects Your Blood Pressure
- Experiences with High Blood Pressure and Hypothyroidism
- How to Manage Hypothyroidism Naturally
- Natural Solutions for Lowering High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure and Hypothyroidism: What to Know
High Blood Pressure Statistics
The CDC also states that high blood pressure (also called hypertension) affects an estimated 75 million American adults, which is 29% of the American population. That’s one in every three American adults.
High blood pressure greatly increases the risk of heart disease and stroke, the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. This is why it is so important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.
According to the American Heart Association, when high blood pressure is left untreated, it can cause the following:
- Heart disease or heart failure
- Kidney disease or kidney failure
- Vision loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
Angina Definition: Chest discomfort or pain from the condition where the heart muscles don’t obtain the right oxygen-rich blood volume
As you can see, the dangers of prolonged and/or untreated high blood pressure (resistant hypertension) can cause an array of health problems.
In addition, health conditions, such as overt hypothyroidism (and hyperthyroidism), can also cause high blood pressure. When this occurs, it is referred to as secondary hypertension.
How can thyroid conditions affect your blood pressure? We will explain more about high blood pressure and hypothyroidism in the following sections.
The Connection Between High Blood Pressure and Hypothyroidism
High blood pressure and hypothyroidism are closely related.
The thyroid gland plays a big role in your health. When it is functioning properly, it secretes hormones throughout your body, which greatly influences your metabolism, growth and development, body temperature, and blood pressure.
Naturally, when your thyroid gland is not working properly, your body starts to follow suit.
Hypothyroidism: How It Affects Your Blood Pressure
Hypothyroidism, the result of an underactive thyroid gland, causes your bodily functions to slow down. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include the following:
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Lack of appetite
- Hair loss and/or dry hair
- Dry skin
- Brittle nails
- Muscle cramps
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Goiter or an inflamed thyroid gland
- Cold sensitivity (especially in the hands and feet)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Slower heart rate
- A rise from low blood pressure to high blood pressure referred to as secondary hypertension (as mentioned above)
People may associate high blood pressure (secondary hypertension) with symptoms of hyperthyroidism as the cause, but new studies show that hypothyroid patients are also at risk as their hypothyroidism becomes more prominent and/or severe.
It was previously believed that people with hypothyroidism experience lower blood pressure because blood flows at a slower rate to the heart due to the slower metabolism caused by an underactive thyroid.
On the other hand, new studies have shown the opposite. This study, conducted by The Journal of Hypertension in 2007, shows that individuals diagnosed with hypothyroidism had higher rates of pulse pressure and systolic blood pressure within a two-hour period, as opposed to individuals who did not have hypothyroidism (or hyperthyroidism).
Experiences with High Blood Pressure and Hypothyroidism
A person with untreated hypothyroidism can experience high blood pressure (secondary hypertension) because of the following:
- If your kidneys no longer filter waste when you’re experiencing lower blood pressure, angiotensin (a chemical) is formed. When this happens, your blood pressure rises.
- If you have a T4 deficiency and your body does not react to the medication taken for this deficiency, then your body naturally raises your blood pressure in an attempt to correct this issue.
- A person with hypothyroidism often experiences cold hands and feet. This happens when your body cuts blood flow to the hands and feet to focus on the core of your body instead. Because of this, your blood pressure rises due to the blood being kept in smaller vessels of your body.
When you have a thyroid condition, it is extremely important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. If you normally check it at home, here is a chart to help you better understand exactly what the numbers mean.
How to Manage Hypothyroidism Naturally
Here are some of the natural ways to control an underactive thyroid and improve thyroid function:
1. Try Acupuncture
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that uses needles to prick the skin and target various pressure points to alleviate symptoms of different diseases. This medical practice helps balance thyroid hormones.
A study revealed that patients with thyroid disorders experienced improvements with their thyroid hormone markers after performing acupuncture regularly. Acupuncture also allows you to relax and stay calm by relieving anxiety and muscle tension, which are symptoms of an underactive thyroid.
Consult with your doctor as to how you can apply acupuncture to help manage symptoms of thyroid dysfunction.
2. Control Stress
Chronic stress can trigger dysfunction of your thyroid as it slows down your body’s metabolism. This causes the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) to drop, affecting many bodily functions.
Stress can also worsen the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism if you already have it. To relieve stress, you can perform some self-care activities, such as:
- Reading a book
- Walking in nature
- Taking a bath with essential oils
- Having a massage
- Performing meditation like yoga
It’s best to make time to relax to lessen daily stress that can accumulate over time. Start by doing self-care activities twice or thrice a week and then slowly work your way up.
3. Consume Probiotics
Probiotics are live bacteria that help keep the balance of the microbiome in your gut, and they play an important role in stimulating your thyroid hormones. Lactobacillus bacteria are some of the most beneficial microorganisms in probiotic supplements.
You can add these foods with probiotics in your hypothyroidism diet:
4. Avoid Gluten in Your Diet
Gluten is a type of protein commonly found in barley, rye, or wheat. It triggers the cells in the gut to release zonulin, a protein that can damage the tight junctions responsible for holding the intestines.
If the junctions break, leaky gut occurs. Avoiding gluten in your diet for high blood pressure and thyroid can help keep your gut in good shape, preventing the interruption of hormonal activities in the body.
Upon doing groceries, check the labels for gluten.
5. Eat Foods with Iodine
Your thyroid levels need iodine for hormone conversion and production, but the body does not create it, so we need to get it from supplements and foods such as:
6. Minimize Sugar
Too much sugar in the body can trigger an overgrowth of the yeast Candida, which is usually present in people with Hashimoto’s disease.
Your thyroid gland is also responsible for regulating the metabolism of carbs.
If you don’t have enough thyroid hormones, your body struggles in balancing blood sugar levels. If you don’t have a normal blood sugar level, you may experience metabolic issues, weight gain, and fatigue.
Natural Solutions for Lowering High Blood Pressure
If you are looking for natural solutions for lowering your high blood pressure, here are some great remedies and activities you can do in the comfort of your own home:
1. Drink Lemon Juice
Lemons help keep blood vessels in a soft and pliable condition, which in turn can help control your blood pressure.
- Squeeze half a lemon into a glass of water.
- Mix well and drink on an empty stomach in the morning.
For best results, do not add sugar or salt.
2. Eat Bananas
Potassium consumption lessens sodium effects in other foods. Because bananas are rich in potassium, they make a great natural remedy in blood pressure control.
Try to eat at least two bananas a day.
Other foods rich in potassium you should also consider are as follows:
- Dried apricots
- Winter squash
3. Munch on Celery
Phthalides in celery relax the muscles in and around the arterial walls, which in turn creates more space for blood to flow freely. This process promotes healthy blood pressure levels.
- Eat 1-2 stalks of celery daily with a glass of water. If you prefer, you can just snack on celery throughout the day as long as it adds up to 1-2 stalks a day.
4. Take Honey
With its ability to reduce stress in the heart and calming effect on the blood vessels, honey makes an excellent natural remedy for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels.
- Remedy 1: Consume two teaspoons of honey in the morning on an empty stomach.
- Remedy 2: Combine equal parts of honey and basil juice and consume once a day on an empty stomach.
5. Exercise Regularly
Performing regular exercise helps increase your breathing and heart rates. As you level up your workout intensity, your heart pumps blood with less effort and gets stronger over time.
This activity places less pressure on your arteries that can aid in lowering your blood pressure.
Do moderate- to vigorous-intensity workouts for 40 minutes each session three to four times weekly. The exercises can include:
- Playing a sport
- Doing household chores
- Using the stairs
6. Have Potassium and Sodium Balance
Both nutrients are electrolytes responsible for keeping fluid balance and a good blood volume in your body. But, you can get high blood pressure with too much sodium and not enough potassium, and this is the reason why you need to maintain the right amounts of these electrolytes.
Potassium can help ease blood vessel tension and reduce the effect of sodium in your body. You can get potassium from these foods:
- Vegetables (spinach, greens, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes)
- Fruits (oranges, avocados, apricots, and bananas)
- Low-fat dairy food products like yogurt and milk
7. Don’t Smoke
Smoking causes an increase in your heart rate and a quick, temporary rise in your blood pressure. The chemicals in cigarettes can cause narrowing and inflammation of the arteries and damage in the walls of your blood vessels, which leads to an increase in blood pressure over time.
It’s difficult to stop smoking, so you need a medical professional to assist you in the process of quitting.
8. Get Good-Quality Sleep
When you’re sleeping, your blood pressure usually lowers down. If you lack sleep and don’t sleep well, it can significantly affect blood pressure.
Research showed that people who have sleep deprivation have a higher risk of elevated blood pressure compared to those who sleep well regularly. Some people might find it difficult to fall asleep, but there are various ways to let you sleep quickly and achieve a restful bedtime:
- Making your bedroom feel comfortable in any way you want
- Avoiding daytime naps
- Exercising during the day
- Relaxing at night
- Following a regular sleep schedule
Achieve at least seven hours of quality sleep each night to fully recharge your body. Don’t oversleep though, more than nine hours, as it can increase hypertension risk.
With everything said, there really is a direct connection between high blood pressure and hypothyroidism. Having a high blood pressure is most likely unavoidable once your thyroid gland starts to malfunction because of hypothyroidism.
But, don’t fret! There are a number of natural ways (as enumerated above) you can do to counter both high blood pressure and hypothyroidism.
Do you suffer from secondary hypertension (high blood pressure)? What other natural remedies to lower blood pressure can you add to the list above? Share them with us in the comments section below!
- 12 Natural Hyperthyroidism Treatments You Can Do At Home
- Natural Thyroid Treatment | 13 Tips For Taking Care Of Your Thyroid
- Brain Fog: Top Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 1, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.