Calcium is essential for the development of the body. That’s why doctors advise people to intake calcium-rich foods like milk, spinach, and fish. But as doctors like Dr. Babak Larian explain it, too much calcium content isn’t good for the body. It can lead you to a condition called “Hyperparathyroidism.”
If you see the symptoms of this condition, you must prepare yourself for the diagnosis. In this article, learn about the correct diagnosis for Hyperparathyroidism.
What is Hyperparathyroidism?
Hyperparathyroidism is a medical condition where your body starts producing parathyroid hormone (PTH) in excess.
As you might know, parathyroid glands — the pea-sized endocrine glands — produce PTH. The glands are found at the back of the thyroid, near the neck area.
The parathyroid hormones help in regulating the calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorous levels in your body. And when there’s too much hormone, consequently there’s too much calcium.
Types of Hyperparathyroidism
There are three types of Hyperparathyroidism, which are:
People suffer from the first type when they have a problem with at least one of their parathyroid glands. The most common cause is that one of their glands experience benign growth while at least two glands experience enlargement. This creates an imbalance. The reason behind this might be a tumor.
People with a history of calcium deficiency, or exposure to radiation, or suffering from inherited disorders may develop primary Hyperparathyroidism.
In the case of secondary Hyperparathyroidism, the condition occurs because the person has an underlying condition that causes calcium deficiency. Chronic kidney failure is a common reason for calcium and vitamin D lower production levels.
Tertiary Hyperparathyroidism is the condition when your calcium levels return to the normal level, but your parathyroid glands are still making PTH.
Symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism
The symptoms range from mild to severe. In the early stages, patients will experience no symptoms. The milder symptoms include the following:
- Body pain
The Severe Symptoms Include:
- Loss of appetite
- Memory problems
- Increased urination
If you’ve developed secondary Hyperparathyroidism, you may experience skeletal abnormalities. So swollen joints, bone deformation, fractures are some common symptoms.
You may see other symptoms if you have any underlying condition.
In the US alone, approximately 100,000 people suffer from a type of Hyperparathyroidism every year. It’s more common among people aged 50 to 60.
Once you show symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism, seek immediate medical help from experts like Dr. Babak Larian. The doctors will look at your current and past health conditions to diagnose you. To confirm you’re suffering from a type of Hyperparathyroidism, they will carry out tests like.
A blood test is a preferred way for a primary care provider to diagnose you with Hyperparathyroidism. They look for calcium and vitamin D levels, PTH level, phosphate level, and phosphorous level. The high alkalinity of phosphate and low phosphorous confirm Hyperparathyroidism.
A blood test is followed by a urine test, where the primary care provider determines the severity of the condition. With a urine sample, they can assess its calcium content.
Finally, the physician will take an X-ray scan or ultrasound of your kidneys to check for any kidney abnormalities. Stones will confirm the case of Hyperparathyroidism.
To confirm the exact stage, physicians will carry out multiple tests over a few days. And they will personalize the diagnosis for patients who are also suffering from an underlying condition.
The calcium level in all patients changes consistently. So in one test, they may return a high calcium level and a low calcium level in the next.
So patients suffering from it may assume that the condition is healing on its own. But the body can’t cure Hyperparathyroidism. It requires manual intervention. So your primary care provider will have you undergo therapy.
For patients suffering from secondary Hyperparathyroidism, doctors will administer vitamin D and calcium supplements. Since an underlying condition causes a low calcium level, the supplements will try to bring the level to a balance.
If you’re in the primary stage, the doctors will advise you to undergo surgery to remove the tumor in the parathyroid gland. The surgery will cure the condition in most cases.
But if you have an underlying condition, you may have to live with Hyperparathyroidism for some time until or even permanently. So you need to keep the blood calcium level in check through supplements. You’d have to bring changes to your lifestyle as directed by the doctors.
Hyperparathyroidism is a curable disease if you have no inherited disease. As soon as you see the symptoms, get medical support from doctors like Dr. Babak Larian.