Underlying Medical Conditions that Cause Kidney Stones: Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a condition caused by an overactive thyroid gland. The thyroid gland produces a hormone called thyroxine. This hormone is crucial for bodily functions like digestion, bone health, brain development, as well as the function of the muscles, including the heart. It is secreted into the blood to aid in these various bodily functions. When the thyroid produces too much thyroxine, this is referred to as hyperthyroidism.  

When a person is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, some serious health concerns come along with such a diagnosis. Too much thyroxine can cause serious cardiac problems, including rapid heartbeat, irregular heart rhythm, and increased blood pressure. This increases the chances of a heart attack or congestive heart failure. Untreated hyperthyroidism can also weaken bones, increasing the chance of osteoporosis. Other problems that can occur in people with hyperthyroidism include problems in the muscles, like weakness and loss of control, excessive weight loss resulting in severe fatigue, increased movement of the bowels, as well as eye problems, which may include typically present bulging eyes, and redness, light sensitivity, and blurry vision. Women with hyperthyroidism may develop reproductive problems, which can make conception difficult, as well as trouble carrying a pregnancy to term after conception.  

A related condition called hyperparathyroidism is the number one cause of kidney stones, a painful situation in which small stones develop within the kidneys. Over 90% of these stones are made up of calcium, which hyperparathyroidism causes too much of in the bloodstream. The parathyroid glands are four small glands that are located within the thyroid, thus making hyperparathyroidism and hyperthyroidism related conditions. It is recommended that anyone diagnosed with kidney stones is tested for issues with the function of the thyroid glands. Many people are shown to have one or more tumors located on or in the parathyroid glands when they’re tested as a result of a kidney stone. These kidney stones will return without the removal of the tumors. Because of the excess calcium that hyperparathyroidism excretes into the blood, kidney stones can be traced to the consequences of overactive parathyroid.  

There are a few other issues that can sometimes be responsible for the formation of kidney stones. For example, dehydration and lack of water intake can make conditions favorable for the stones to develop within the kidney. To prevent this, be sure to drink plenty of water and be aware of the color of the urine. Darker urine means dehydration is a risk. Oxalate from certain foods can also combine with calcium in the body and proceed to encourage the development of kidney stones. Big offenders include spinach, corn grits, or high content bran cereals. Oddly, drinking milk and eating dairy products high in calcium are less likely to cause stones, since they will bind to the oxalate in the gut, rather than in the kidneys, making stones unlikely as a result. Too much salt puts the body at risk for kidney stones, as do foods that cause excess acid in the kidneys, such as too much red meat or certain shellfish. People with inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s Disease are also prone to developing kidney stones, as well as having a body mass index score over 30.  

While hyperthyroidism can be serious, there are treatments available. Likewise, kidney stones can be the result of hyperparathyroidism, which can also be treated. Lastly, kidney stones can also result from factors other than thyroid problems. Therefore following up on the cause of a kidney stone is very important should you experience one.