By: Researcher Taymur
You have also been warned by your physician about cholesterol, the oily, waxy substance that circulates in your blood. Too much of the wrong cholesterol type can block your arteries and threaten you with heart disease.
High levels of cholesterol can come from your diet, especially if you eat high-saturated fat foods such as red meat and butter. Your thyroid gland may be at times to blame. Too much or too little thyroid hormone can cause you to swing up or down your cholesterol levels.
Here’s an overview of how cholesterol affects your thyroid.
Your thyroid is a gland shaped like a butterfly in your neck. It produces metabolism-controlled hormones. The process used by your body to convert food and oxygen into energy is metabolism. Thyroid hormones also help the normal functioning of the heart, brain, and other organs.
However the hypophyseal gland is at the base of the brain and controls the movements of the thyroid. Because it activates thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) when your pituitary detects that you are low in thyroid hormone. So TSH channels more hormones to the thyroid gland.
Cholesterol is in each of the cells of your body. The body makes hormones and substances that help you digest food.
So you also have cholesterol circulating through your blood. In two types of packages, called lipoproteins, it travels through the bloodstream: high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is good for your heart. Because it allows the body to reduce cholesterol and protects against heart disease.
Therefore cholesterol in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is bad for your heart. Because if the levels of LDL cholesterol are too high, cholesterol can block arteries and contribute to heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
Sometimes the thyroid can produce too few or too many hormones.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which your thyroid is underactive. The entire body feels like it is slowing down when the thyroid is underactive. You’re getting tired, sluggish, cold, and awkward.
If you have the following conditions, you may get an underactive thyroid:
- However thyroiditis of Hashimoto, an autoimmune disease that attacks and destroys the thyroid gland
- Therefore inflammation of the thyroid gland (thyroiditis)
Other factors that can result in an underactive thyroid include:
- Because removal of all or part of an overactive thyroid
- However cancer radiation or overactive thyroid
- Therefore certain medications such as lithium, interferon alpha and interleukin 2
- Because of tumor, radiation or surgery damage to the pituitary gland.
Similarly your body needs thyroid hormones to generate cholesterol, and you don’t need cholesterol to get rid of it. So if the levels of thyroid hormone are small (hypothyroidism), your body will not break down and remove LDL cholesterol as efficiently as normal. Because you can then build up LDL cholesterol in your blood.
However to increase cholesterol, thyroid hormone levels don’t have to be very low. So even people with mildly low thyroid levels may have higher than normal LDL cholesterol, called subclinical hypothyroidism. Therefore a 2012 study found that even if thyroid hormone levels are not small, elevated TSH levels alone can directly increase cholesterol levels.
So the opposite effect of hyperthyroidism is on cholesterol. Because it causes an abnormally low cholesterol level to drop.
If you have thyroid symptoms and you have high or low cholesterol levels, see your doctor. Blood tests will be done to measure your TSH level and thyroid hormone level called thyroxine. These tests will help your doctor find out if you are overactive or underactive in your thyroid.
Therefore taking levothyroxine (Levothroid, Synthroid) as a thyroid hormone replacement medicine may also help lower your cholesterol level.
Because if your amount of thyroid hormone is only slightly small, you may not need to replace your thyroid hormone. So the doctor may instead put you on a cholesterol-lowering medication or on a statin.
However the doctor will give you radioactive iodine for an overactive thyroid to shrink the gland and drugs to minimize the development of thyroid hormone. So to remove most of the thyroid gland, a small number of people who cannot take antithyroid drugs may need surgery.
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