Low thyroid may be causing your orthostatic hypotension, even if you’ve already been taking medication for low thyroid.
The efficacy of medication for low thyroid can become compromised by surgery, such as coronary bypass, or, your body many spontaneously need a higher dose over time – and these issues can bring on symptoms of low thyroid that you may not have had before… such as orthostatic hypotension.
Basically, orthostatic hypotension (orthostasis) is when there is a sudden and extreme blood pressure drop when a person changes positions: rising from a lying or seated position and then standing or immediately walking across a room.
The autonomic nervous system regulates blood pressure changes so that when a person makes sudden changes in position, blood pressure adjusts appropriately.
With orthostatic hypotension, this mechanism doesn’t work properly.
As a result, a person with orthostatic hypotension who (for example) stands from a seated position and immediately walks away, will experience a range of interesting effects:
- an impending black-out feeling
- feeling dizzy or faint; woozy or lightheaded
- or even actually passing out — presenting a fall hazard.
There are many causes of orthostatic hypotension, and I wondered if low thyroid could be one.
Can low thyroid be a cause of orthostatic hypotension?
“Yes, a major cause of orthostatic hypotension is poor adrenal functioning, commonly known as adrenal fatigue,” explains Kent Holtorf, MD, MD, thyroidologist and founder of Holtorf Medical Group in California.
“The adrenals can fail to function properly with low thyroid levels, so untreated or undertreated hypothyroidism can result in orthostasis.”
Hypothyroidism is the medical term for low thyroid, when this gland does not produce adequate amounts of the hormone thyroxine, which controls metabolism and many other bodily processes.
It’s not surprising, then, that low thyroid can mess up adrenal function. The adrenals are glands. Adrenal deficiency can be diagnosed with blood tests.
If you’ve been suffering with what seems to be orthostatic hypotension (various tests given by medical professionals can confirm a diagnosis; and a home test with a blood pressure monitor is a valuable tool in pointing towards this condition), you must have your thyroid levels checked, even if you’ve been on medication for hypothyroidism and a past blood test showed a normal TSH level.
What can you do in the meantime to minimize orthostasis as well as help suppress other hypothyroid symptoms?
Is there an interim drug to help with orthostasis that can be taken until the thyroid medication is increased?
Dr. Holtorf explains, “There are a number of treatments for orthostatic hypotension, including increasing salt and fluid intake, taking adrenal support nutrients such as licorice root and ginseng, and adrenal support hormones such as cortisol, fludrocortisone, DHEA and pregnenolone.”