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Seabreezes22 10-25-2007 06:16 AM

Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
I am new to this board. My doctor recently ordered an U/S and blood tests because he said my thyroid felt enlarged upon a routine exam. I have also been dealing with the sudden onset of high blood pressure. It just started about four weeks ago. I know this because I just hada baby four weeks ago and my blood pressure was fine before and during pregnancy, but suddenly spiked after pregnancy. So I was wondering if high blood pressure us related to thyroid disorders. Thanks.

mkgb 10-25-2007 06:46 AM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
Yes. There is a definite link.. make sure they test you antibodies. Pregnancy is one of the biggest triggers in premenapausal woman thyroid dysfunction.. the stress on the thyroid can cause anything from post partum thyroiditis that will clear up in 9-12 mo. Or Hashimoto's and Graves diseases. Arterial hypertension is known to be frequently associated with thyroid dysfunction, with a particularly high prevalence in chronic hypothyroidism.

What symptoms are you having.. just high blood pressure and thyroid enlargement?
What about your daily body temperature?
What about your heart rate?
Weight gain or loss?
Skin issues: dry or itchy all the time?
Have any facial puffiness and the like?

Do a bit of research on your own.. go into this educated. You are your best advocate, because only you can tell when you feel well. Do not settle for the things are normal spill. Get your results and double check them.. many MDs are behind the research curve. And do not pay attention to range adjustments and the like if it was not part of their school days.

Have they tested your TSH, FT3, and Ft4? These are the first thing they should run. If your TSH is low and FT3 and FT4 results high.. a check into Graves should be done. If you TSH is high and your FT3 and Ft4 are low a check into Hashimoto's should be done. This can all be done while waiting on the scheduled U/S.

What are the antibody tests?
TPOAb and TGAb are indicators of a presence of Hashimoto's. You may test positive for 1 or both of these.

TSI and TRAb are the antibody tests for the presence of Graves. The US will confirm Graves easily if it is there.. so if you have the hyperthyroid indicators of a low TSH and high FT3 and FT4 you can abstain from running these tests and wait on the scan.

I am thinking hypothyroidism but to what extent? Is it jusst PPT and will right it self in time or is it thyroid failure. The scan will tell you if the thyroid is dead. And the TSH, FT3, and FT4 are necessary to guide in accurate treatment of your thyroid hormone levels. TSH alone is insufficient.


Seabreezes22 10-25-2007 07:36 AM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
Thank you for the very informative post. I have been having hot flashes and I also feel like my throat is closing. I am also having a hard time losing my postpartum weight. This is my second pregnancy, and the weight came off much faster the first time. My doctor did run the antibody test (same time as u/s), and he also orderd TSH test. On the u/s there were several (3-4) black circles that I saw the tech taking measurements of. She didn't tell me anything, though. I don't have a follow-up appt. until next Wed. I am terrified that this is cancerous. Could it be?

mkgb 10-25-2007 08:00 AM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
Dark or black circles.. thank-you Mom for letting me participate and grill your US techs... are dead zones in the thyroid. Often referred to as nodes or cysts.

The main things a US scan shows are.. active thyroid absorption and processing in the thyroid tissue which glows with a color from blue to white depending on the rate of absorption of the iodine.

In Graves you have orange to red to white dominated images. Indicating a hyper absorption of the iodine.. in hypo cases you can have dead zones where the thyroid has shut down (grey-black in color) and the rest of the scan may be in cooler color tones, blue, green, yellow.. I would not worry over cancer yet. I am think Hashimoto's and the newly killed thyroid tissue is forming nodules. You may have a FNA in your future. You definitely should have medication to help shrink the thyroid and control your hypoT. Keep us posted and be sure to get a copy of your results. If you have questions, post and share them with the masses.


Heckofagal 10-25-2007 08:26 AM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
I had sudden onset high BP when I was diagnosed hypo. Was put on thyroid meds as well as BP meds and eventually came off some of the BP meds. Just at doc yesterday with another BP spike so we are guessing my thyroid meds need to be adjusted. Just waiting on labs to confirm.

I also would think this is just a cause of postpartum induced hypo. Please do not worry much about the possibility of cancer. Thyroid cancer is vey rare and VERY treatable.

Seabreezes22 10-25-2007 08:39 AM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
I am so grateful to come here and get such great guidance and BTDT experiences. I am feeling a little bit depressed because everytime I turn around there is something else wrong with me (most of them benign or treatable conditions, but draining and stressful, nonetheless). I'm also depressed because I should be enjoying my newborn and instead I'm overcome with worry and enduring tests.

If I am hypo, will I have an ongoing struggle with weight, even after I'm treated with meds?

mkgb 10-25-2007 08:55 AM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
You fight to get your hypoT optimally treated. You want a TSH about 1, unless you are on a T3 supplement.. then the TSH isn't worth the paper it is written on.. You also need to fight for your FT3 and FT4 levels to hit the optimal levels as well.. this is 50-85% of the normal lab range for most people. How do you know when you are optimal? When your FT3 and Ft4 are in the right zone and you no longer have symptoms.. it is a slow process but you will get there. It takes two weeks for T4/T3 supplements to hit blood equilibrium levels.. then another 2-4 weeks for your body to settle out how it will respond to the ne T4 and T3 blood levels. If you are not optimal in range and still have symptoms.. you need a dose increase.. increase, wait, test, and repeat until you make it back to that happy place.

Best of luck to you and hug that baby as often as you can. Loving my son has helped me these last five years.


Seabreezes22 10-25-2007 09:22 AM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
Thank you for all of your help. It is greatly appreciated! I guess the silver lining to this cloud is that I have two children (and feel that my family is complete). I am glad that this is hitting me now and not when I was TTC.

Seabreezes22 10-25-2007 04:40 PM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
I hope you read this response. I feel like my last response may have been the wrong thing to say - and it was definately not intentional. I have been reading some other posts on this board and I see you reply often, supporting many on here. I also read that you and your DH were thinking of TTC #2 soon, and I hope that my above post was not hurtful. I didn't realize you were thinking of TTC when I posted that. I'm very sorry.

mkgb 10-25-2007 05:20 PM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
I am hard to offend. It was not hurtful. I completely understand your relief and hope that your children have no ill effects in the future. I am glad that you made it through your pregnancies and have two healthy children as a result. My son was an accident after I was told I was infertile.. a month after that nice slap in the face I was pregnant and vomiting 24-7. :) Well I have one healthy, very smart son. If I can not have another I am thankful for the one I have. Thank you for your kind words.. I am torn as to whether or not I should run the genetic lottery and risk it. I would feel horrible if I had a second child and something went wrong.. I am going in with my eyes open and it would be my fault. But all the studies show if you keep the TSH down throughout the pregnancy you have no increased chance of defect than any other normal thyroid pregnancy. SO all in all I am keeping my fingers crossed.


Heckofagal 10-25-2007 06:07 PM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
Seabreezes - having a baby can really screw with your hormones. Throw in there extra fatigue from not getting enough sleep AND top it all off with a new illness to have to deal with and I'm sure it is overwhleming. I can relate to dealing with something new but I think alot of my issues are all hormone related and perhaps yours are too. (High BP, ovarian cysts, veritgo!) Hang in there, it will get better. Just enjoy that baby as much as you can and take time to take care of yourself too. You will be feeling yourself before too long.

Seabreezes22 10-29-2007 06:48 AM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
I can totally understand the miracle aspect of having a baby after being told it wasn't going to happen under natural circumstances. I had two ectopic pregnancies (back to back) one in each tube. I was actually seeing a reproductive endocrinologist when I got pregnant with DS by surprise. DD was also a surprise. I too, would not want to roll the dice again (knowing what I know now). At least I was naive to the probability of problems when I got pregnant. I wish you the best on whatever decision you make. I a not aware of what birth defects can result from a woman being pregant with high TSH. What are they? The reason I ask is because I very well may have had high TSH during my pregnancy and not have known it. They only reason I am even being checked is because my dr. said that my thyroid felt enlarged during a routine exam (and he is a very proactive dr.). I would like to be informed on what birth defects are associated with high levels of TSH during pregnancy - so that I can rule them out in my DD. I googled it, but I'm having a hard time finding anything.

Thank you for your kind words. I hope that my dr. can get this under control quickly so that I can enjoy my new one, too.

mkgb 10-29-2007 07:49 AM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
Okay, mounting my soap box here... Maternal hypothyroidism and autoimmune thyroid disease – like Hashimoto's thyroiditis, a type of hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid – increase the risk of pregnancy complications, such as miscarriage, prematurity, gestational hypertension, and pre-eclampsia in the mother.

In the child there are other things to consider.. deficiency in T4 during brain development results in an increased chance of a deficit in the intellectual development and motor skills of the child/children. Now instead of manditory testing for the mother.. the tst children at birth for congenital hypothyroidism to prevent the condition’s harmful effects. I would think it would be more helpful to mother and child to test the mother each trimester. As well as the child at birth. But I am not an MD. ;)

The experts have described in many studies why maternal thyroid hormone is so important to the developing fetus and why it should be monitored.. .but there are those out there not listening. The fetus depends solely on the mother in the first half of gestation for thyroid hormone (T4) needed for the developing brain and cognitive motor and reasoning skills. Pregnant women who are under producing thyroxine (T4) are, therefore, at risk of having children with lower IQs and learning problems, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, whether or not their circulating thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) concentrations are increased. Thus many recommend screening of the FT3 and FT4 levels in pregnant woman every 4 weeks. The most frequent cause of the inability of the maternal thyroid to produce enough thyroxine for fetal brain development is an inadequate supply of iodine. Or underlying thyroid condition. Amounts of this micronutrient (Iodine), a necessary component of thyroid hormone, are needed with the onset of pregnancy and are almost double those needed by children and non-pregnant adults. The ATA has issued statements emphasizing that pregnant and nursing women should take daily vitamin supplements that contain iodine, at least 220 micrograms a day for pregnant women and 290 micrograms daily for lactating women. Only 35 percent of prenatal vitamins contain iodine. So check your bottles!

There are environmental agents that effect thyroid function and iodine nutrition. Ammonium perchlorate, a contaminant in some water supplies, is known to reduce the ability of the body to use existing iodine. Moreover, PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are known to influence thyroid function and thyroid hormone action, which can alter iodine uptake during pregnancy and lactation. PCBs also appear to influence thyroid hormone action in tissues, including the developing brain. Thiocyanates in cigarette smoke are as a negative factor as well.

Five percent to 8 percent of women carry thyroid autoantibodies for either Hashi's or Graves. These autoantibodies are strongly linked to the occurrence of miscarriage as well as a condition that occurs after delivery, called post-partum thyroiditis. Humm.. how many endos and Obs are up on this Gem I wonder. Symptoms include depression, fatigue, and difficulty nursing. Subclinical hypothyroidism – when the person has no visible symptoms and the condition is only detectable through labortary tests – is often undiagnosed, and the severity of hypothyroidism increases with gestational time. Five percent to 10 percent of the young female population could be affected and undiagnosed.. what does this mean to the future generations?

On big whig in OB -GYN basically says it is not worth the time and money to test all pregnant women.. because only 2.5 % are truely at risk. WHAT? In this persons statement. "Given that the prevalence of subclinical hypothyroidism is about 2.5 percent in the United States and there are about 4 million births each year, appoximately 100,000 pregnant women would have to be treated. To do this is unjustified at this time." Okay so I guess when looking at only 100,000 our of 4 million it is an acceptable loss? Not if you are one of the 100,000. We should lock him in a stadium with them.

The ATA states that "pregnant mothers with overt or subclinical hypothyroidism are at increased risk for premature delivery." Other important research findings highlighted by the ATA statement include –
* Pregnant mothers with detectable thyroid autoantibodies and normal thyroid function are at an increased risk for miscarriage and for postpartum thyroid disease (antibodies cross the placenta barrier and can cause a passage of the disease, groiters and suppression of the thyroid function in AIT patients),
* Pregnant mothers with thyroid hormone deficiency or TSH elevation during pregnancy may have children at risk of mild impairment in their intellectual function and motor skills, and
* Pregnant women being treated with thyroid hormone replacement often require a 30-percent to 50-percent increase in their thyroid hormone dose.

The ATA believes that the magnitude of these problems should be clarified, and programs should be developed to manage these health issues.

The ATA has emphasized that the "threshold should be low for identifying at-risk" and in need of screening. These factors include women who have a family or personal history of thyroid disease, goiter, diabetes, history of miscarriage, or symptoms suggesting hypothyroidism."

As for women who have known hypothyroidism before conception, it is advised that physicians should provide pre-pregnancy counseling about the risks and changes in therapy that are needed. It is also important that these women have their thyroid hormone levels – TSH, in particular – checked as soon as pregnancy is confirmed and routinely during pregnancy. Hormone demands can change every two weeks in early development of the fetus. Studies have shown that many of women will need to increase their thyroxine replacement as much as 50 percent in the first trimester. With careful monitoring and availability of T4 in the mother.. risks are no more than those of a normal functioning thyroid mother.

Other studies show substantial evidence from both retrospective and prospective studies suggesting that early gestational low maternal circulating thyroxine concentrations adversely affect neonatal and child development at least to age 7. And children of hypothyroid or AIT mothers should be monitored yearly with at least a TSH alone.. to ensure no complications arise from suppressed thyroid function.

The advocates of saving money say.. the statistics are not in favor of testing all the mothers.. but even these individuals say that current testing standards are insufficient. My personal take is.. what is the health and development of my child worth.. and I know many mothers would be willing to go out of pocket to protect their children from one more issue. Unfortunately.. most of us do not learn until it is well after the fact.

The main clain to fame and clearly documented health issues of hypothyroid fetus exposed childre.. are low birth weight, low IQ, low cognitive reasoning and motor skills, ADD/ADHD, sleep apnea and a few other know hypothyroid symptoms. Other things are up for debate, but not proven. Early testing and identification of ChypoT children allows for combat of many of these things.. but I would spare my children if I could. Wouldn't you?


Seabreezes22 10-29-2007 09:21 AM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
That's nice. They wait to check the newborn at birth opposed to screening the mother during pregnancy? So then what, the baby's tests come back abnormal and the doctor says, "Oh, you must have been hypo during your pregnancy? My bad. You really need to get that under control and your baby is likely to suffer the consequences. Sorry."
Something preventable just became a lifelong battle for this tiny being? It's justified by the "small sample" that will ultimately suffer the consequences opposed to the majority of the population that will not. How comforting to those mothers, who are dealing with this issue. I can't see how screening for this cannot be justified, when they screen you for so many other (rare, but serious) complications.

I'm not sure what I need to do to make sure that my DD has not been affected. Is there something I need to ask my ped to test for? Is there a reputable source of research that I can take with me, to help facilitate any necessary testing? I wasn't aware that they tested her at birth. Should she be re-tested again?

Agh - I can't believe what a PITA this thyoid thing is turning out to be, and the uneducated medical masses are compounding the situation.

Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge. You have really helped me gain a much clearer understanding.

mkgb 10-29-2007 09:43 AM

Re: Is there a connection between thyroid disorders and high blood pressure?
The simplest way to start is to get them to draw blood and check the TSH, FT4 and TPOAb during your next yearly physical. Get the results and post them here.

Other things to note.. thyroid isssues in children are most noted when Child fails to thrive.. or ceases to grow. I am keeping an eye on my 5 year old, because he stop growing his 3rd year.. he was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea at age 4 and now has made it back into the 99% for growth in the 8 months he has been on a CPAP. But yes it is scary and the pediatrician will most likely say no worries. But you must stress your thyroid disorder and the fact it manifested during your pregnancy. Also check and make sure they did test your child's TSH and FT4 at birth. They forgot to do it for my son. I was ticked finding this out 5 years late!


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