Low thyroid hormone levels cause many changes in your body, including the potential for high blood pressure.

Your thyroid is a small gland located inside the lower part of your neck. It releases hormones that help regulate many systems in your body. Thyroid hormones help maintain your heart rate, metabolism, digestive system, and bone health.

Sometimes, your thyroid may not make enough thyroid hormones. When your thyroid hormone levels are low, you might receive a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Research suggests that about 5% of people have this diagnosis and another 5% may have undiagnosed hypothyroidism.

Thyroid hormones play many roles in your body, so maybe it’s not a surprise that low thyroid hormone levels can also affect your blood pressure. Hypothyroidism may lead to high blood pressure, which is also known as hypertension.

Here’s more information about the connection between your thyroid and your blood pressure.

Yes, there is a connection between hypothyroidism and hypertension. Not everyone with hypothyroidism will develop high blood pressure, but it’s important to be aware that this can happen.

Your blood pressure can vary a bit throughout the day. But when your blood pressure remains high, it’s known as hypertension. Hypothyroidism is one risk factor for developing hypertension.

Thyroid hormones are involved in regulating your heart rate and maintaining blood vessel health. Low thyroid hormone levels can make you more prone to high blood pressure.

Among their many other functions in your body, thyroid hormones help keep your heart rate steady and your blood vessels healthy.

When your thyroid doesn’t make enough hormones, your heart rate slows down. Low thyroid hormone levels can also make your blood vessels less flexible. When this happens, your blood pressure rises as your heart works harder to keep blood pumping throughout your body.

Hypothyroidism has also been associated with high cholesterol levels. Over time, high cholesterol may cause your blood vessels to become narrow, further increasing your blood pressure.

Many people with high blood pressure have no symptoms. So, if you live with hypothyroidism, it’s a good idea to have regular blood pressure checks.

Hypertension may not cause any symptoms, but some people will experience the following:

  • headaches
  • increased anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • chest pain
  • dizziness

Hypothyroidism can cause a variety of symptoms, but they can be vague and similar to the symptoms of other conditions.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • tiredness
  • a cold feeling
  • mood changes
  • muscle and joint pain
  • slower digestion
  • hair thinning

If your thyroid doesn’t make enough hormones, you’ll need medication to supply your body with the right amount of hormones. A healthcare professional will prescribe you a medication called levothyroxine. This medication has several brand names, including Synthroid, Levoxyl, and Tirosint.

Researchers estimate that about 1 in 3 people with hypothyroidism are not getting the right treatment.

It’s important to have regular blood work to monitor your thyroid levels. Your hormone levels can change over time, and at some point you may need a higher or lower dose of thyroid medication. If you’re just starting on thyroid hormone medication, it can take some time to find the right dose.

Hyperthyroidism, which involves high thyroid hormone levels, also has health effects. Like hypothyroidism, it’s associated with high blood pressure.

Once your thyroid levels are stable, your blood pressure might return to normal levels, but your doctor may still do regular blood pressure checks.

Yes. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition that can affect your thyroid. This condition causes your immune system to attack the cells that produce thyroid hormones. It’s the most common cause of hypothyroidism in populations that consume enough iodine.

Your thyroid needs a mineral called iodine to work properly. Throughout the world, iodine deficiency is the most common reason for hypothyroidism. In many places, iodine is added to salt to help people consume more iodine and support thyroid health.

Beyond getting enough iodine, there are no specific foods that can help your thyroid make more hormones. If your levels are low, you’ll need medication to get the extra thyroid hormones you need.

If your thyroid levels are well managed but your blood pressure is still high, changing your diet may help. There is good evidence for an eating pattern known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

The DASH diet includes:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • low fat dairy products
  • fish
  • poultry
  • nuts and seeds
  • beans
  • vegetable oils

For the best results, the DASH diet also recommends lowering the amount of sodium (salt) in your diet to 1,500 milligrams per day. Even though salt is a source of iodine, it’s possible to get enough iodine on a reduced sodium diet.

It’s important to manage both hypertension and hypothyroidism. Often, blood pressure goes back into a normal range once hypothyroidism is well managed. But in some cases, it stays high.

Consider visiting a healthcare professional for regular blood pressure checks so they can monitor your levels. You’ll also need regular blood work to monitor your thyroid function.

There are several steps you may be able to take to manage your blood pressure:

  • Have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Follow the DASH diet.
  • Look for healthy ways to cope with stress.
  • Get regular physical activity.
  • Take any blood pressure-lowering medications as directed.
  • Manage any other health conditions you may have, such as high cholesterol or diabetes.

Thyroid hormones are involved in many functions in your body. Sometimes, low thyroid hormone levels can cause your blood pressure to rise. If you live with hypothyroidism, it’s a good idea to be aware of this connection.

You can work with a healthcare professional to monitor your thyroid hormone and blood pressure levels. Hypothyroidism and hypertension are both manageable conditions.