May thyroid medicine cause hypertension

Thyroid puts pressure on blood vessels

If the doctor repeatedly detects high blood pressure values, he will first look for a clear organic cause. So after a disease that can be treated. Such specific triggers for high blood pressure do not occur often, but they do exist. Privatdozent Dr. Alexander Mann, specialist in internal medicine and hormone expert from the Endokrinologikum Frankfurt am Main, estimates: "Clearly tangible organic causes of high blood pressure can be found in around 15 percent of all hypertensive patients."

For example, disorders in hormone-producing glands are possible. So increase
benign tumors in the adrenal glands increase blood pressure. In addition, an overactive thyroid can push it upwards. "Such an overfunction is when there is an increased release of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream," explains Mann. "This can be caused by an inflammation of the thyroid gland or by an uncontrolled release of thyroid hormones from nodes in the thyroid gland."

The hormone overdose affects the heart and circulation. "Thyroid hormones act on the involuntary nervous system and directly on the heart muscle cells. Both of these make the heart beat faster and increase blood volume. As a result of the increased circulatory stress associated with hyperthyroidism, the upper, systolic blood pressure, in particular, rises."

It is interesting that an underactive thyroid can also increase blood pressure over the long term. The expert: "This does not happen through a direct influence on the cardiac output, but through the effect on the blood vessels. In the case of the hypothyroidism they become less flexible. In the rigid vessels, the lower, the diastolic blood pressure value rises."

Once the medical diagnosis has been made, treatment is required. A thyroid malfunction does not go away by itself. The heart and circulation benefit from the therapy, emphasizes Mann. "Beta blockers are used to lower the blood pressure in overactive patients. These slow down the heartbeat that is increased due to the overactive function. And they lower the pumping volume of the heart and the resistance in the blood vessels
there is a rapid decrease in blood pressure within hours to
some days."

In addition, there are agents that reduce the production of hormones in the thyroid gland, which usually succeeds after a few weeks. An operation may have to follow to finally eliminate the hyperfunction. This involves removing all or part of the thyroid. Alternatively, there is radio-iodine therapy.

In the case of a significant underactive function - which also occurs as a result of thyroid surgery or radioiodine therapy - the doctor prescribes thyroid hormones so that the heart and circulation can work normally again. "But mistakes in taking thyroid hormones can affect blood pressure," warns Mann. Therefore, when looking for the optimal dose, good coordination between doctor and patient is important.

Dr. Frank Schäfer

Possible signs of an overactive thyroid:

  • increased pulse, irregular heartbeat, high systolic blood pressure
  • Restlessness, insomnia, sensitivity to heat
  • decreased performance, tiredness, trembling of the hands
  • frequent bowel movements, loose stools, nausea, cravings
  • in women: menstrual cycle disorders, infertility; in men: impotence
  • in Graves' disease: protrusion of the eyes, reddening of the eyes

Possible signs of an underactive thyroid:

  • slow heartbeat, possibly high diastolic blood pressure
  • Lack of drive, sensitivity to cold
  • Tiredness, difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of appetite, constipation, weight gain
  • in women: menstrual cycle disorders
  • dry, flaky, pale yellow skin