Written on March 24, 2023 by Gillian (Gigi) Singer, MPH. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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When untreated, hypothyroidism can put you at risk for other health problems, like high cholesterol and heart issues. Keep reading to learn more.
Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is a condition in which “the thyroid gland doesn't make enough thyroid hormone” . About 10% of people live with hypothyroidism, and half of them aren’t aware of it.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland found internally in the front of the neck and is part of the endocrine system, which is responsible for the production and release of hormones . When the thyroid isn’t functioning as it should, the whole body can be impacted.
The thyroid’s primary job is “to control the speed of your metabolism (metabolic rate), which is the process of how your body transforms the food you consume into energy. All of the cells in your body need energy to function” . It creates four hormones using iodine and water :
These four hormones all affect your :
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of hypothyroidism include :
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is common. It means that “the force of the blood pushing against the artery walls is consistently too high,” which makes the heart work harder to pump blood.
The Mayo Clinic explains, “Untreated, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other serious health problems. It's important to have your blood pressure checked at least every two years, starting at age 18. Some people need more-frequent checks” .
If you have high blood pressure, you will likely not notice symptoms, but you may notice headaches, shortness of breath, and/or nosebleeds. Since symptoms don’t always occur, your healthcare providers should take your blood pressure at visits, or “you may be able to get a free blood pressure screening at a health resource fair or other locations in your community” .
For prevention and treatment, “Healthy lifestyle habits — such as not smoking, exercising, and eating well — can help prevent and treat high blood pressure. Some people need medicine to treat high blood pressure” .
You may wonder, can hypothyroidism cause high blood pressure? A study from 2018 published their findings that the T3 and T4 thyroid hormones may contribute to the development of elevated blood pressure (BP), but there was no evidence that thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) contributed to the development of elevated blood pressure (BP) . Meaning, when the thyroid creates more T3 and T4, blood pressure tends to elevate, and when the thyroid creates less T3 and T4, blood pressure tends to decrease.
If you are interested in learning about your thyroid or blood pressure, you can get all your questions answered by using Everlywell’s network of telehealthcare providers. You can get convenient telehealth consultations that are eligible for coverage by major insurance plans. Where applicable, your provider may prescribe thyroid medication online. You’ll receive medical attention from a licensed healthcare provider through secure technological means that safeguard your confidentiality, and it's all accessible at your fingertips.
With telehealth from Everlywell’s network, you are just three simple steps away from talking to a provider about your prescriptions:
Everlywell’s At-Home Thyroid Panel measures 3 main thyroid hormones plus thyroid peroxidase antibodies. Your test results will measure your levels of 3 main thyroid hormones plus thyroid peroxidase antibodies. These circulating thyroid hormones have an impact on many functions of the body. By measuring each type of hormone level, this thyroid function test can help you understand if you may be experiencing thyroid dysfunction.