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Thyroid UK
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Hypothroidism and high cholesterol

I’ve just this week been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. It was a bit of a shock because I feel fine but it was detected on a routine blood test. I asked my GP for the blood test results and can see that my cholesterol is high too, 7.6. My GP didn’t seem concerned about this and just commented that it wasn’t high enough for statins! I’ve done some reading on various websites and discovered that it’s possible there’s a link between hypothyroidism and high cholesterol. So my question is whether the Levothyroxine med will lower my cholesterol too? Does anyone have any experience of this. Bit worried. Seem to have gone from healthy to unhealthy in one week. Thank you.

8 Replies


One liner - hypothyroid = slow

Metabolism and less ability to break down cholesterol.

Lots of discussion on these threads on how to improve workings of gut and liver from all angles - use of probiotics, bile supplements, raw celery juice, avoiding reactive foods (gluten/dairy), increasing vitamin and mineral levels through supplements. Just something as simple as adding more salt allows stomach to create more HCL from NACL in salt.

Lots for all of us to learn. This can be turned around and good luck - it feels at times like a lot of work !

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High cholesterol is not a problem in itself. It won't give you a heart attack or anything. Just be grateful that your doctor didn't try to put you on statins, like most of them do! But, it does mean there's a problem somewhere else in your body, it's it's more than likely that it's your hypothyroidism that is causing the cholesterol to be high. So, yes, it should come down as your thyroid hormone levels come up. :)


Good morning :)

Firstly - don't worry. It is likely that your high cholesterol is linked to being hypothyroid, and will settle down when you get your Levo working OK. If it doesn't you can improve things a lot by tweaking your diet. How old are you?

There is a lot of mixed evidence about whether statins actually work or not anyway, and they can cause their own problems so I would avoid them if you can.

If you have been feeling OK, it's likely that your thyroid issues are not too serious, but it's important to get a bit of an understanding of what is going on so you can keep it that way.

Do you know what your thyroid test results are? If yes, add them to your post with ranges (which are the numbers in brackets) and that will give us a better idea where you are at. If you don't have these, get a print out from your GP, and get into the habit of doing this so you have a record of what's going on.

Ideally you should get TSH, freeT3 & freeT4 initially, and if they haven't been tested yet ask if you can have your TPO and TGab antibodies tested. They will show if your underactive thyroid is caused by an immune issue (the most common cause) or if it's down to something else. Add any extra results you have too. Vitamin D, B12 & iron are all important to keep an eye on if you have an iffy thyroid as they influence how well your body can use the thyroid hormone you are still making, and the Levo you are taking.

Did the Dr tell you that you need to take Levo on an empty stomach, before any tea or coffee etc, and not eat or drink anything other than water for an hour afterwards? Most people take theirs before breakfast, but some people prefer to take it at bedtime. Both options are equally good as long as you have an empty stomach and don't eat or drink anything (apart from water) for an hour after.

What dose has your Dr given you to start? They should test you again in around 6 weeks and it's very likely that they will increase your dose a few times (and test 4 -6 weeks after each time) as your body gets used to it. Thyroid tests need to be done as early as poss in the morning, and before you take your Levo. Current informed medical opinion is that your TSH should be brought down to under 1 when on Levothyroxine. The level of knowledge of GPs on thyroid issues varies wildly, so it would be good to get a feel for how much your GP knows early on.

This is a very supportive online community, and there are also some good (and some rubbish) fb groups. Have a look at the Thyroid UK website too. Lots of useful info there.


Hello Hypo 123, I do have my results. Free T4 is 6.8 (range 10.50-24.50), TSH 68.9 (range 0.27-4.20). My TSH seems really, really high so maybe I’ve had this for some time. There’s no T3 result. The pharmacist explained how to take the Levothyroxine. I’m going for more blood tests in 6 weeks and am taking t of Levo at the mo. Bit concerned about it all. Looking at symptoms, I do get tired at the end of the working day, but generally I feel ok. Thanks for your help.


Hello and thank you all so much for replying. Hypo 123, i’m 56. I do have my test results - so Free T4 is 6.8. Range appears to be 10.50 - 24.50. TSH is 68.9 (range 0.27-4.20. No T3 result so I guess this wasn’t tested. I’m taking 50mcg of Levo. The GP didn’t tell me how to take it but the pharmacist did. I have to go back for blood tests in 6 weeks. Thanks again.


Hypo123 is unlikely to see this response, because you didn't click on the reply button, under her comment. So, I've flagged her for you.

She's right that it is doubtful that statins do any good - especially for women - but they can do a lot of harm. However, 'tweaking' your diet is hardly likely to do anything either. Cholesterol is made in the liver. And it's made in the liver because the body needs it. And the amount the liver makes is huge - it's doubtful that anything you eat or don't eat will have much effect on it. So, don't worry about cholesterol in the diet. It's a total red herring! :)


There is indeed some controversy over how diet affects cholesterol, and also the role of cholesterol itself - but chances are the issue will improve with thyroid treatment anyway.

A TSH of 68 is quite high, and your freeT4 is quite low, so it's good that your GP has picked this up and is addressing it. Make sure you get your blood test done when it's due and expect a few raises in medication with subsequent retesting.


This is a list of clinical symptoms and you might find you have more than one:-


They should eventually be resolved as thyroid hormones are increased.

Blood tests always have to be at the very earliest, fasting (you can drink water) and allow a gap of 24 hours between last dose of levo and test and take afterwards.

Also ask GP to check B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate. Deficiencies can also cause symptoms.

When hypothyroid it doesn't happen overnight but a gradual reduction of thyroid hormones which we don't notice very much until we don't have sufficient to run our whole metabolism. Thyroid hormones are needed from head to toe in all of our receptor cells. Heart and brain need the most.

Always get a copy of your blood test results with the ranges. Ranges are important as labs differ and it makes it easier to comment.

The aim is a TSH of 1 or lower (not somewhere in the range as some doctors believe).

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