A cross-sectional study identified a relationship between thyroid cysts and hypertension by atherosclerosis status, according to findings published in Scientific Reports.

Patients (N=1883) were recruited for this study during their annual health check-up at a clinic in Saza, Japan. Patients were evaluated for general health and thyroid cyst risk.

The majority of participants were not at risk for cysts (n=1213). Stratified by risk status, the at-risk and no-risk cohorts were 29.8% and 40.7% men (P <.001), their mean ages were 62.2±8.3 and 59.7±9.5 years (P <.001), and 32.8% and 28.2% (P =.044) took antihypertensive medications, respectively.

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Hypertension was associated with thyroid cysts after correcting for sex, age, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, alcohol consumption, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, hemoglobin A1c, thyroid stimulating hormone, free triiodothyronine, and free thyroxine (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.32; 95% CI, 1.05-1.65; P =.019).

Stratified by free triiodothyronine quantiles, thyroid cysts were not associated with hypertension (P =.985). For atherosclerosis, compared with quantile 1, quantiles 2, 3, 4, and 5 were associated with decreasing risk for cysts (OR, 0.62; 0.60; 0.65; 0.54; P =.021, respectively).

There were significant interactions between atherosclerosis and thyroid cysts (P =.002), in which the presence of atherosclerosis decreased the risk for thyroid cysts (aOR, 0.49; 95% CI, 0.24-0.98; P =.043) and its absence increased the risk (aOR, 1.49; 95% CI, 1.17-1.90; P =.001).

Stratified by hypertension subtype, the interaction between atherosclerosis and thyroid cysts was not significant for diastolic hypertension (P =.397) but was for systolic hypertension (P =.044). The absence of atherosclerosis among patients with systolic hypertension increased their risk for thyroid cysts (aOR, 1.71; 95% CI, 1.15-2.53; P =.008).

This study may have been limited in that it only collected data on the presence or absence of cysts and not their number or size, which may be significant features.

The study authors concluded that there was a significant association between thyroid cysts and hypertension on the basis of atherosclerosis status, in which the absence of atherosclerosis increased the risk for cysts. This fact highlights the need for an effective screening tool for thyroid cysts among the general population.


Shimizu Y, Kawashiri SY, Noguci Y, Nagata Y, Maeda T, Hayashida N. Association between thyroid cysts and hypertension by atherosclerosis status: a cross‑sectional study. Sci Rep. 2021;11(1):13922. doi:10.1038/s41598-021-92970-x