If you have hyperparathyroidism, it means that one or more of the parathyroid glands are overactive, resulting in the overproduction of the parathyroid hormone (PTH). Parathyroid hormones in excess can lead to an increase in the calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcemia). A high calcium level can lead to various health problems, which include:
- Weakened bones: Loss of calcium from the bones in the blood result in the weakening of the bone.
- Kidney stones: The small intestine may take up more calcium from the diet, adding to high levels of calcium in the blood. Extra calcium is transported to the kidney resulting in kidney stones.
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Trouble concentrating
- Reduced kidney function, affecting its ability to filter
What are parathyroid glands?
The parathyroid glands are four pea-sized glands located in the neck near the thyroid gland. They produce parathyroid hormone, which helps to control the calcium and phosphorous levels in the body. They are located on the outside borders of the thyroid glands.
The parathyroid glands raise blood calcium levels by:
What causes hyperparathyroidism?
Primary hyperparathyroidism is a type of hyperparathyroidism that starts in at least one of the parathyroid glands. It occurs due to one of the following reasons:
- Benign tumor
- Cancer of one of the glands
- Two or more of the glands being overactive
Secondary hyperparathyroidism is a type of hyperparathyroidism that occurs due to low calcium levels in the blood, triggered by certain medical conditions. Secondary hyperparathyroidism may occur due to:
- Low calcium levels in the blood due to chronic kidney disease or some other conditions
- Low levels of Vitamin D that balances the amount of calcium in the blood
- Paraneoplastic syndrome (an accompanying disease because of cancers of other organs) may also be present with elevated PTH levels.
About 100,000 people in the United States develop hyperparathyroidism each year. Women are more commonly affected than men and the risk increases with age.
What are the symptoms of hyperparathyroidism?
Hyperparathyroidism does not manifest any symptoms in the majority of the patients. However, in some, hyperparathyroidism may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Joint pain
- Muscle weakness
- Trouble concentrating
- Loss of appetite
- Increased need for sleep
In severe cases of hyperparathyroidism, the patient may experience:
How is hyperparathyroidism diagnosed?
The physician may order blood tests to check the level of calcium and PTH in the blood. After diagnosis, the physician may conduct the following tests to assess the complications:
- Bone densitometry: It uses a small dose of ionizing radiation to look for reduced bone mineral density.
- Kidney ultrasound: It may be useful to check for kidney stones.
- Imaging tests, such as MRI or CT scan, may be helpful to check for broken bones
- 25-hydroxy-vitamin D blood test to assess the level of Vitamin D
How is hyperparathyroidism treated?
Treatment options include:
- Surgery: It involves removal of the either one or more overactive glands.
- Medication: Cinacalcet is approved for the treatment of primary as well as secondary hyperparathyroidism.
- Dietary supplements: Calcium and Vitamin D supplements need to be consumed lifelong.
- Identify and treat the cancer-causing paraneoplastic syndrome, if any.
- Regular monitoring involves physical examination from time to time, blood tests, and bone density measurements.
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calcifediolCalcifediol is a medication used to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism caused by vitamin D deficiency in patients with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease (CKD). Common side effects of calcifediol include high calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia), high phosphorous in the blood (hyperphosphatemia), high potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia), high level of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia), increase in serum creatinine, low red blood cell count (anemia), contusion, inflammation of the nose and throat (nasopharyngitis), bronchial inflammation (bronchitis), cough, shortness of breath (dyspnea), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, heart failure, degeneration and inflammation of joints (osteoarthritis), adynamic bone disease, and constipation. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
calcium acetateCalcium acetate is a medication used to reduce blood phosphate levels (hyperphosphatemia), a complication associated with advanced kidney disease. Common side effects of calcium acetate include hypercalcemia, itching (pruritus), swelling (edema), dizziness, weakness, headache, low magnesium levels in blood (hypomagnesemia), low phosphate levels in blood (hypophosphatemia), irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), and low blood pressure (hypotension).
Common Medical Abbreviations & Terms
Doctors, pharmacists, and other health-care professionals use abbreviations, acronyms, and other terminology for instructions and information in regard to a patient's health condition, prescription drugs they are to take, or medical procedures that have been ordered. There is no approved this list of common medical abbreviations, acronyms, and terminology used by doctors and other health- care professionals. You can use this list of medical abbreviations and acronyms written by our doctors the next time you can't understand what is on your prescription package, blood test results, or medical procedure orders. Examples include:
- ANED: Alive no evidence of disease. The patient arrived in the ER alive with no evidence of disease.
- ARF: Acute renal (kidney) failure
- cap: Capsule.
- CPAP: Continuous positive airway pressure. A treatment for sleep apnea.
- DJD: Degenerative joint disease. Another term for osteoarthritis.
- DM: Diabetes mellitus. Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
- HA: Headache
- IBD: Inflammatory bowel disease. A name for two disorders of the gastrointestinal (BI) tract, Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis
- JT: Joint
- N/V: Nausea or vomiting.
- p.o.: By mouth. From the Latin terminology per os.
- q.i.d.: Four times daily. As in taking a medicine four times daily.
- RA: Rheumatoid arthritis
- SOB: Shortness of breath.
- T: Temperature. Temperature is recorded as part of the physical examination. It is one of the "vital signs."
glandular productsGlandular products are nutritional supplements used to enhance the function or mimic the effect of an organ. Glandular products can be used to treat hypothyroidism, low adrenal function, autoimmune disorders, adrenocortical insufficiency, hyperkalemia, ulcerative colitis, liver disorders, vascular insufficiencies, pancreatic disorders, and others. Common side effects of glandular products include allergic reactions, hyperthyroidism symptoms, iron overload, infection, and others.
iodineIodine is a trace mineral used by the body to produce thyroid hormones. Iodine is an essential component of thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) produced by the thyroid gland. Excessive iodine may lead to reduced thyroid function (hypothyroidism) by feedback inhibition of thyroid hormone production and conversion of triiodothyronine (T3) to less active thyroxine (T4). Common side effects of iodine include metallic taste, fever, thyroid suppression, headache, joint pain (arthralgia), diarrhea, acne (high dose), hives (urticaria), fluid in lungs (pulmonary edema), swelling of tissue under the skin and mucous membranes (angioedema), and high blood count of eosinophil immune cells (eosinophilia).
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potassium iodidePotassium iodide is an oral medication that has been used for a long time as an expectorant to break up mucus and make it easier to cough up and eliminate phlegm. Potassium iodide is also used to inhibit thyroid hormone production in patients with an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) and thyrotoxicosis. Common side effects of potassium iodide include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, gastrointestinal irritation or bleeding, metallic taste, iodide poisoning syndrome (iodism), and others. Use of potassium iodide during pregnancy can cause fetal harm.
Propylthiouracil (PTU)Propylthiouracil (PTU) is a medication prescribed to manage hyperthyroidism and Graves' disease. The most common side effects are related to the skin, such as rash, itching, hives, abnormal hair loss, and skin pigmentation. Since methimazole is associated with fetal abnormalities, PTU is used during the first trimester if an antithyroid drug is needed. PTU is excreted in breast milk in small amounts.
thyroid desiccatedThyroid desiccated is a dried form of thyroid, a naturally occurring hormone, used for replacement or supplemental therapy in people deficient in thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism). Common side effects of thyroid desiccated include chest pain, palpitations, irregular heart rhythm (cardiac arrhythmia), high heart rate (tachycardia), shortness of breath (dyspnea), abdominal cramps, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, weight loss, increased appetite, excessive sweating (diaphoresis), hair loss (alopecia), fever, headache, heat intolerance, muscle pain (myalgia), cramps, impaired balance/coordination/speech (ataxia), tremor, and others. Consult your doctor if pregnant or breastfeeding.
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