Hyperparathyroidism: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Overview

Hyperparathyroidism occurs when there is
excessive parathyroid hormone (PTH) in the blood. PTH is important to regulate the
blood level of calcium, phosphorus and vitamins. It is produced by the
parathyroid glands which are four pea-sized glands that behind the thyroid
gland in the neck.

Types & Causes

Hyperparathyroidism has two types, primary
hyperparathyroidism and secondary hyperparathyroidism.

  • Primary hyperparathyroidism is more common than secondary hyperparathyroidism. It is caused by the enlargement of one or more of
    the parathyroid glands
    which causes excessive PTH is produced. This can
    lead to an increasing level of calcium in the blood – hypercalcemia. Primary hyperparathyroidism
    is more common in women, which is three times than in men. It is usually be
    diagnosed at the age of 50-60.
  • Secondary
    hyperparathyroidism
    occurs due to a condition that make the level of calcium
    in the blood decrease
    , which make the parathyroid glands produce more PTH. As
    time going, the more and more PTH caused the secondary hyperparathyroidism.

Other causes of hyperparathyroidism may
include:

  • A noncancerous growth (adenoma) on a gland (the most common cause).
  • A cancerous (malignant) tumor (rare).
  • Gene.
  • Severe vitamin D deficiency.
  • Severe calcium deficiency.
  • Chronic kidney failure.
  • Too much calcium lost in the urine.

Some factors may increase the risk of
getting hyperparathyroidism, including:

  • Is a woman.
  • Had received radiation treatment on the neck.
  • Not enough calcium or vitamin D in the diet.

Symptoms

Symptoms of hyperparathyroidism main
include:

  • Feel tired and weak
  • Depression and forgetfulness
  • Nausea and loss of appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased amount of urine produced and needing to urinate more often
  • Bone pain or tenderness
  • Fragile bones of the limbs and spine that can break easily
  • Kidney stones

Diagnosis

If your doctors suspect you have hyperparathyroidism
from your symptoms, you may need have some tests, including:

  • Blood test for PTH, calcium, phosphorus, and alkaline phosphatase.
  • Bone x-rays and bone mineral density (DXA) tests: This is to detect the bone loss, fractures, and bone softening.
  • X-rays, ultrasound, or CT of the kidneys or urinary tract: This can show the deposits or a blockage of calcium.
  • Ultrasound or a nuclear medicine scan of the neck (sestamibi): This can be used to see if a benign tumor (adenoma) in a parathyroid gland causes hyperparathyroidism.
  • 24-hour urine test.

Treatment

Depending on the type, cause and severity of
your hyperparathyroidism, doctors may recommend different treatment options,
including observation and regular inspections, medications and surgery.

Observation
and regular inspections

You just need observation and regular
inspections if you have no symptoms or the symptoms are mild, such as:

  • The calcium level is normal or only slightly elevated.
  • The kidney functions are normal, and you have no kidney stones.
  • The bone density is normal or only slightly below normal.

Medications

  • Cinacalcet. This is a kind of calcimimetics which can make parathyroid glands produce less PTH.
  • Hormone replacement therapy. For women who experience menopause and have signs of osteoporosis, this can help bones retain calcium, but doesn’t address the cause of hyperparathyroidism.
  • Bisphosphonates. It can prevent the loss of calcium from bones and relieve the osteoporosis caused by hyperparathyroidism.

Surgery

Surgery is the most common options for
hyperparathyroidism. Your doctors will only remove the overactive glands. Even
if your four parathyroid glands are affected, they only remove three and leave
one to maintain the body’s normal needs.

Home Remedies

  • Eat high-calcium foods, such as dark green vegetables, cereals and
    orange juices.
  • Avoiding phosphate in the diet
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid using a type of water pill called thiazide diuretic.
  • Have regular exercise.
  • Avoiding smoking.

Please consult your doctors for your
treatment options.

Keywords: hyperparathyroidism; parathyroid
glands; parathyroid hormone; PTH.

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