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Understanding Thyroid and Cholesterol Connection


A lot of people have problems with high cholesterol mostly because of their diet and lifestyle. The common advice that doctors will give to those who suffer this problem is to modify their diet by lowering the intake of food high in fats. But, aside from food consumption, there are other possible causes why cholesterol rises.

Some reasons may be related to other underlying problems like hyper or hypothyroidism. Knowing thyroid and cholesterol connection can help you gain a better understanding of why the latter is above the normal levels.

How Thyroid Condition Affects Cholesterol Level

As indicated in the Open Cardiovascular Medicine Journal, there are consequences of thyroid dysfunction on a person’s lipid profile. This serves as proof regarding the thyroid and cholesterol connection. This also gives you an idea of your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The result of this research can help doctors in selecting a treatment for your thyroid problems.

One of the primary function of your thyroid is to regulate the breakdown of lipids like cholesterol in your system. It also helps eliminate fat from your body when you don’t need it. However, when there is an imbalance in the hormones like with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, the thyroid and cholesterol connection becomes evident. The cholesterol levels of a person with hyperthyroidism may vary from another person who has hypothyroidism.

The thyroid and cholesterol connection with hypothyroidism occurs because with this condition the hormones are low. This leads to a decrease in metabolism and cessation in the breakdown and removal of LDL. As a result, the bloodstream will have an increase in LDL and total cholesterol which can start to build up.

On the other hand, if you are suffering from hyperthyroidism and the thyroid hormones are high, the total cholesterol and LDL is significantly low. Since LDL is known as the bad cholesterol, you would probably think that the decrease in its level is a good thing. But, when this lipid is too low, it could also cause other health problems.

Importance of Knowing the Link Between Thyroid and Cholesterol

It is essential to understand thyroid and cholesterol connection because the treatment for hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism may need to be modified. In addition, you can also anticipate possible problems that you may encounter when you have the said conditions and find ways to prevent this from happening.

When your blood work shows that your cholesterol is high, your doctor would usually test the levels of your THS or thyroid stimulating hormone because they know the thyroid and cholesterol connection. High LDL and total cholesterol could be a result of an underactive thyroid. On the other hand, low LDL and total cholesterol may be due to overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism.

Other Clinical Studies on Thyroid and Cholesterol

One research by the American Thyroid Association shows that other than the levels of thyroid hormone, TSH can also affect your cholesterol level. The result of the study revealed that those with high TSH, although their thyroid hormone is within the normal range, have higher levels of cholesterol in the blood compared to those with lower TSH. This study helps doctors to identify patients who are likely to develop high cholesterol by checking the TSH and not solely relying on the levels of thyroid hormones.

Because of the clear thyroid and cholesterol connection, you need to do your part to prevent complications like cardiovascular disease especially when you are suffering from hypothyroidism. Although your doctor may already prescribe treatment and medications, there are things on your end that you can do. If you have an underactive thyroid, you have to change your lifestyle.

Aside from modifying your diet, you can engage in regular exercise. The activities that you can do would depend on your energy level. If you are too tired, you can do less rigorous training for at least 20-30 minutes. A simple walking, biking or yoga couples with a low cholesterol diet can already make a huge difference. You can also start with the treatment, so you will have more energy for exercise just like what is suggested in the research of Archives of Medicine and Health Sciences.

Prevention and Treatment: What You Need to Know

For individuals who are 20 years old and above, with family members diagnosed with thyroid problems, it is recommended to undergo tests. A lipid panel test can determine the levels of your LDL and HDL. If these levels are increased or decreased, further analysis may be conducted to rule out hyper or hypothyroidism. Learning your condition at an early stage can help prevent other health problems.

Now that you know and understand thyroid and cholesterol connection make sure to follow your doctor’s advice. As long as you take your medications, improve your lifestyle and regularly consult your physician, you can still live a productive and healthy life despite your condition.

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