Overt hypothyroidism has been associated with arterial hypertension and increased arterial stiffness. Results in euthyroid individuals have been conflicting. We investigated associations of thyroid function with systolic (SAP) and diastolic (DAP) arterial pressure in euthyroid subjects.
311 euthyroid individuals (185 women, mean age 43.9 ± 9) without a history of diabetes attending a preventive medicine program were examined. Subjects receiving thyroxine (10.6%) were excluded; 19.3% had hypertension, 43% had a family history for hypertension. TSH, fT4, thyroid autoantibodies, insulin, glucose were measured. The "fT4.TSH product", which has been suggested as a T4 resistance-index, was calculated.
TSH range was 0.1–8, median 1.4 mU/L, fT4 range was 11.5–25.2 pmol/L, median 17.4. TSH and the "fT4.TSH product" were positively associated with DAP (p < 0.03, for both associations). In the subgroup of individuals with TSH levels 0.36–2.5 mU/L, both TSH and the "fT4.TSH product" were positively correlated with SAP (r = +0.133 p = 0.044, r = +0.152 p = 0.026) and DAP (r = +0.243 p < 0.001, r = +0.252 p < 0.001 respectively); in multivariate analysis the "fT4.TSH product" was a significant predictor of DAP independently of HOMA-IR and BMI (p < 0.001). Similar associations were found when only the non-hypertensive subjects were analysed (p = 0.004). Hypertensive patients had higher TSH levels (p = 0.02) and belonged more frequently to the subgroup with TSH > 2 mU/L (35.3% vs 21.3%, p = 0.045).
In euthyroid individuals the association of thyroid function with diastolic arterial pressure remains significant even when a stricter "normal range" for TSH levels is considered. The "freeT4.TSH" product appears to be an even stronger predictor of DAP, independently of HOMA insulin resistance index and obesity.