Hyperparathyroidism - Treatments

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How is hyperparathyroidism treated?

Surgery to remove the enlarged gland (or glands) is the main treatment for the disorder and cures it in 95 percent of operations.

Calcimimetics are a new class of drug that turns off secretion of PTH. They have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of hyperparathyroidism secondary to kidney failure with dialysis, and primary hyperparathyroidism caused by parathyroid cancer. They have not been approved for primary hyperparathyroidism, but some physicians have begun prescribing calcimimetics for some patients with this condition. Patients can discuss this class of drug in more detail with their physicians.

Some patients who have mild disease may not need immediate treatment, according to panels convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2002. Patients who are symptom-free, whose blood calcium is only slightly elevated, and whose kidneys and bones are normal may wish to talk with their physicians about long-term monitoring. In the 2002 recommendation, periodic monitoring would consist of clinical evaluation, measurement of serum calcium levels, and bone mass measurement. If the patient and physician choose long-term follow-up, the patient should try to drink lots of water, get plenty of exercise, and avoid certain diuretics, such as the thiazides. Immobilization (inability to move) and gastrointestinal illness with vomiting or diarrhea can cause calcium levels to rise. Patients with hyperparathyroidism should seek medical attention if they find themselves immobilized, vomiting, or having diarrhea.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Suzqz, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 07

I actually diagnosed my own hyperparathyroidism, but of course, I went to see an endocrinologist to make sure. Any time you find out that you have high calcium in your blood, you should investigate it further. That was just one symptom I had. I also had a lot of irritability, extreme fatigue, terrible migraines and the feeling of just not feeling like myself. I knew that there was something wrong, I just didn't know what. I urge anyone that has high calcium in their blood to investigate it further with parathyroid blood work. My parathyroid levels were very high and were the clincher in diagnosing my hyperparathyroidism. My husband thought I was full of it! I read the symptoms and told him these were all how I was feeling. The real symptom was the one that said you just don't feel right but don't know why. I had parathyroid surgery in March of 2008.

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Comment from: wil, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: February 15

My mother is 90. She had the symptoms many years ago and did the surgery for the removal of the glands. The doctor couldn't find the gland. 20 years later, only 3 years ago she again went through the surgery with the surgeon insisting that he could find the gland, but no gland is found again. Now she is in a nursing home with swollen fingers on the right hand, so she can't eat or write or turn the pages of a newspaper or magazine with that hand. She can no longer stand because of weakness in her legs. Please get treatment early so this doesn't happen to you.

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