Is there a link between hypothyroidism and CKD?

I am curious how many other CKD sufferers also have hypothyroidism? I wonder if there is any link between an underactive thyroid, and the onset of CKD. I have tried to research this online, and come up with a couple of studies that suggest there may be a link, but it's not discussed much. For me, it's the only factor I can think of that may have caused my CKD, as I had none of the usual contributory factors. My doctor says that some people 'just get' CKD for no apparent reason, but I'm not sure that makes sense to me.

15 Replies

  • Funny you should say that. I thought my CKD was brought on by my medication (alphacalcidol), but recently read that it may be linked to an underactive thyroid. I can't remember where I read it, but will try and find out.

    Over 20 years ago I had my thyroid removed (which in turn made me under active) and then when I was first diagnosed with CKD, my then specialist turned around and said to me that he thought it might happen, its not uncommon!!! They were going to start getting me ready for dialysis, but took me off the alphacalcidol and things started to get a little better, but, they are going down hill a little now. So, you and me in the same boat, no other reason for it other than our bloody thyroids messing our systems up.

    Off to find that article now xx

  • Here is something similar to what I had read. This is the cause of my CKD. I have kidneys that are like lumps of chalk!!

    Hope it helps, as it also explains exactly what the thyroid does, which I never knew at all. I just thought if you were overactive it made you a nervous wreck and if its underactive you sleep alot. I now know it is an extremely important organ, that regulates alot of the things going on in your body.

  • Thank you googie - that article is really interesting, and the whole website looks really useful - I also read lots of related articles on the site which were fascinating. I never knew about the role of the thyroid in regulating calcium - and it does seem likely that hypothyroidism could have a significant effect on kidney function. Not much we can do about it, but for the first time I can see a possible cause for my CKD, which I have been searching for.

  • Glad I could help, and for me also, great to know the reason. I still don't understand after all these years of appointments, how no one has never managed to explain to me why this may have happened. I have Renal Clinic today and think I may ask if that is what they think has happened in my case x

  • My daughter has something called HDR syndrome (also known as Barakat's) that as well as CKD includes hypothyroidism and hypoparathyroidism as well as hearing loss..all linked to the same genetic cause.

  • Hi I have been hypothyroid for the last thirty years,as is my mother and her sister. In 2006 I underwent a kidney scan and was told I had a slightly shrivelled left kidney and should be checked annually. I was never summoned and it was never mentioned again until this July when I suddenly received a letter from my surgery by a new doctor asking me to get bloods done for my ckd.The nurse who did the tests said it was quite common with hypo people. On seeing the doctor he showed me on the screen and I was at stage three with ckd and I should have been monitored every six months.He suggested I go and read up about it while waiting for new results and now I am at stage two.The reason for this he guesses may be down to altered thyroid medication as now I take T3 rather than T4. My mother also has ckd and has been hypo since having too much gland taken away in 1958 and her doctor reckons it can go hand in hand as the thyroids controls so much of our bodily functions.

  • interesting posts. the maternal side of my family is full of thyroid problems both over and under although i have not personally been diagnosed but i have pkd which is supposed to be hereditory but i know of no one else on either side of my family who has ever had it despite a very large family on my paternal side

  • I went to the Renal clinic today, and they said that they think my thyroid is still underactive. He has also changed my phosphate binders to Renagel, but have read in the leaflet that this may now make what is left of my thyroid send out too much thyroxine. I am going to take my tablets for about 2 weeks and then have a test to see if it has made a difference.

  • I hope it goes well, googie. It's certainly a balancing act, getting all our meds right. I hope you feel better anyway. From reading the posts above, it seems that hypothyroidism can certainly have an effect on kidney function, but it's only one factor of many, that can cause CKD.

  • Reading these articles it is important to separate underactive thyroid which requires treatment with Thyroxine and parathyroid which requires alphacalcidol. This is what I have experienced.

  • Hi Shells2. I have just been put on alfacalcidol but have also been taking cinacalcet for the last 9 months in an attempt to reduce my hyperparathyroidism. Were you just on alfacalcidol or do you also take cinacalcet? I thought that taking the cinacalcet would sort out the parathyroid problem (did lower the levels initially) but levels started rising again last month, hence starting the alfacalcidol. Are you still taking alfacalcidol and if so how often are they monitoring your bloods? Thanks

  • Hi.Having been monitored for ckd for the last 32 years about 18 months ago I started having severe joint pain. Following investigation I was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism (ie. high rather than low). This affects the 4 small glands that are located either side of your thyroid - they are not your thyroid. Mine became autonomous and once the levels reached 600 I was finally put onto cinacalcet to bring it under control. It's not back to normal but is much improved and the bone/joint pain is better. I was advised that this condition was a result of my long standing kidney disease.

  • Hi

    I am relatively new to the site & have been hypo for about 3 years (sub clinical - no symptoms).

    Have recently had tests which show I am at stage 3 of CKD - which came as a real surprise.

    Am waiting for ultrasound tests now. My Dr said they were unrelated so it has really helped me a lot, reading these posts as I live a pretty healthy lifestyle.

    Any tips or suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Wegelf11, I was also shocked by my diagnosis of stage 3 CKD, as I too live a very healthy lifestyle, and really had no other health issues (apart from the hypothyroidism). Try not to worry too much, as your CKD may not necessarily get worse - some people just stay at stage 3 indefinitely. I've tried to improve my diet even more, cutting out red meat and eating loads of fruit and veg, and have tried to increase my exercise levels too. My GFR had actually improved significantly on my last 6-monthly test. So there is hope, and it is possible to improve (thought not the case for everyone of course). Keep positive!

  • I have no thyroid (thyroid cancer ten years ago), and I have Stage 2 C.K.D.

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