Hyperthyroidism can cause many symptoms, and hypercalcemia is among them. However, both are treatable with medications and lifestyle changes.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that causes your thyroid to produce too much thyroid hormone. This speeds up your metabolism and results in symptoms like heart palpations, fatigue, unintentional weight loss, and insomnia.
Sometimes hyperthyroidism can also cause blood calcium levels to rise. This is a condition called hypercalcemia.
In severe cases, hypercalcemia can be a medical emergency, but hyperthyroidism very rarely causes this type of hypercalcemia. Typically, hyperthyroidism leads to mild or moderate hypercalcemia that causes minimal symptoms, this type can easily be treated with medication.
In most cases, hyperthyroidism leads to mild or moderate hypercalcemia. It’s rare for hyperthyroidism to cause severe hypercalcemia.
Research has shown that thyroid hormones influence serum calcium levels in the body. When your body produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone, as it does in hyperthyroidism, it can lead to excess production of serum calcium. This can cause hypercalcemia.
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism and hypercalcemia can sometimes mask each other.
Sometimes people with mild hypercalcemia do not have any symptoms. People with hyperthyroidism and mild hypercalcemia might not notice they have hypercalcemia. They might not be aware of the condition unless it shows up in routine blood tests.
Hyperthyroidism and hypercalcemia share these symptoms:
Additional symptoms of hypercalcemia can
Additional symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- unintentional weight loss
- Increased hunger
- heart palpations
- An irregular or fast heartbeat
- Frequent bowel movements
- heat intolerance
- changes to your menstrual cycle
- thinning skin
- hair becoming brittle and fine
- Enlargement of the thyroid gland that appears as a visible swelling or lump at the base of the neck
Hyperthyroidism treatment typically involves medication therapy. In severe cases, surgery might be an option. There are also medications that can help treat hypercalcemia. Since hyperthyroidism-induced hypercalcemia is typically mild, a medication that lowers calcium blood levels is often a good choice.
Calcitonin is commonly used to treat hypercalcemia that hyperthyroidism causes. This medication can lower calcium levels and treat symptoms of hypercalcemia.
Treatment for hyperthyroidism will also continue. Treatment options for hyperthyroidism include:
- Antithyroid medications: Antithyroid medications cause the thyroid to make less thyroid hormone.
- Beta-blockers: Beta-blockers are prescribed to reduce the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
- Radioiodine therapy: Taking radioactive iodine capsules or liquid can destroy thyroid hormone-producing cells.
- Surgery: When medications are not enough, surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid is an option.
Your doctor might also recommend that you follow some dietary guidelines until your calcium levels are at a recommended level. This often includes:
- drinking more water
- avoiding or limiting dairy
- avoiding foods with added calcium
- avoiding over-the-counter antacids
You can also help manage your hyperthyroidism symptoms with a nutritious diet. Some of the best foods for people with hyperthyroidism include:
Living with hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism can be a challenging condition to manage, but there are places you can turn to for support. If you’ve been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, these organizations are a great place to start:
- ThyroidChange: If you’re looking for personalized care, ThyroidChange can help you find it and will advocate to help ensure you receive it.
- The Grave’s Disease and Thyroid Foundation: The Grave’s Disease and Thyroid Foundation offers support groups, educational materials, connections to local resources, and more.
- The American Thyroid Association (ATA): You can find patient resources, local endocrine specialists, and information about clinical trials when you visit the ATA website.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that causes your thyroid to make too much thyroid hormone. Sometimes hyperthyroidism causes your body to overproduce calcium. This leads to a condition called hypercalcemia.
In most cases, hyperthyroidism leads to only mild or moderate hypercalcemia. Symptoms can be easy to miss and might overlap with the symptoms of hyperthyroidism. It’s common for someone with mild hypercalcemia to become aware of the condition only after they receive the results of a blood test.
Typically, medication is enough to treat both conditions. Medication can lower levels of calcium and can help regulate your thyroid to make less thyroid hormone.
When medications do not help, surgery can be an option your medical team recommends.