A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding Hyperparathyroidism

The parathyroid hormone plays an important role in maintaining calcium levels in the blood. Calcium keeps your bones and teeth strong and plays an important role in the proper functioning of muscles, heart, and nerves. If your blood has low calcium levels, parathyroid glands release PTH in the bloodstream.

The parathyroid glands become hyperactive and start secreting too much PTH in some people. This medical condition is called Primary Hyperparathyroidism (PHPT). This blog post will explain hyperparathyroidism in detail, including symptoms and causes.

What Causes Primary Hyperparathyroidism?

If the calcium levels in your blood are low, parathyroid glands secrete more PTH, which causes calcium release from bones. The primary role of PTH is to prevent calcium levels from getting too low, which may affect important body functions. In some cases, the gland develops a benign tumor, and the medical condition is called a parathyroid adenoma. One of the main hyperparathyroidism causes is a high level of PTH and a high level of calcium in the blood.

Your body has four pea-sized parathyroid glands. However, one parathyroid gland grows bigger in some people, and the condition is called parathyroid hyperplasia. Both conditions of parathyroid glands are non-cancerous. However, medical experts mention that one of the main hyperparathyroidism causes an enlargement of the glands or benign tumor.

What Are Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism?

There are several common Hyperparathyroidism symptoms, but each person may experience these symptoms differently. The symptoms are related to PTH and calcium levels in the patient’s blood. Some of the symptoms of having high levels of calcium are:

  • Kidney pain due to the presence of kidney stones
  • Frequent urination
  • Constipation
  • Joint pain
  • Increased thirst
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy and weakness

Some of the serious Hyperparathyroidism symptoms are:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Memory Loss
  • Depression
  • Abdominal pain

Primary Hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) symptoms may look like symptoms of other medical problems. Hence, you need to consult your doctor when you experience any of the above symptoms.

Some people may not experience any symptoms mentioned above but still have hyperthyroidism. Doctors often recommend blood and urine tests to determine calcium and PTH levels in the blood. To diagnose PHPT, doctors may recommend dual X-ray absorptiometry.

Understanding Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry

Dual X-ray absorptiometry is a spectral imaging technique to determine bone density. It involves firing two X-ray beams with two different energy levels aimed at the patient’s bones. The absorption of each beam determines the bone density by bone.

The effective dose of Dual X-ray absorptiometry is very small, and it is considered safe for children, old, and frail people. The accuracy of dual X-ray absorptiometry is excellent and depends on the region under investigation. The DXA scanning serves dual purposes- it tells about the bone density and the loss of bone tissue. Doctors also use DXA scanning to keep an eye on your condition.

How Is Primary Hyperparathyroidism Treated?

The PHPT treatment depends on various factors, including:

  • The extent of the disease
  • Your age, medical history, and overall health
  • Your tolerance to certain medicines, therapies, and procedures.

In some cases, doctors may recommend the removal of the enlarged parathyroid gland to stop excess production of PTH and cure the condition.

Hyperparathyroidism can cause serious health problems if left untreated. Hence, you should visit a doctor when you experience any hyperparathyroidism symptoms mentioned above.