Hyperparathyroidism

Hyperparathyroidism is a disorder that overproduces the parathyroid hormone, which works to balance the amount of calcium in a person’s bloodstream.

Cause

Hyperparathyroidism typically occurs when the parathyroid glands have become enlarged, thus stimulating the overproduction of the parathyroid hormone. This is called primary hyperparathyroidism and it is the most common type of hyperparathyroidism.

A much more rare form of this disorder exists called secondary hyperthyroidism, which results in the same type of overproduction from enlarged parathyroid glands. The difference is that secondary hyperparathyroidism is caused by another part of the body that is absorbing too much calcium from the blood. This other part of the body is usually being affected by kidney failure, celiac disease, crohn’s disease, stomach or intestine bypass surgery, or a severe vitamin D deficiency. In this case it is not a malfunction of the parathyroid glands, but rather a mistaken need for more calcium to be produced and deposited into the bloodstream.

Symptoms

Common symptoms associated with both types of hyperparathyroidism include:

  • Fragile bones (osteoporosis)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feelings of depression
  • Constipation
  • Impaired memory or forgetfulness
  • Kidney stones
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Fatigue

This wide variety of symptoms can affect many areas of the body. Because of this, categorization of hyperparathyroidism is difficult since it could be causing other orthopedic, urological, or gastrointestinal issues.

Diagnosis

Thankfully, most cases of hyperparathyroidism are detected before many of the symptoms present themselves. Since several of these symptoms are nonspecific, it can be difficult to determine the problem associated with them, but a simple blood test is all that is necessary to diagnose hyperparathyroidism.

At this point, your physician may run another series of tests to determine the full effect hyperparathyroidism has had on your body thus far. Such tests would include a measurement of bone density, abdominal imagery, and more.

Treatment

The primary method of treating hyperparathyroidism is a surgery called parathyroidectomy. This surgery is 95% effective, and is associated with very low complication rates when performed by experienced surgeons. Such complications can include:

  • Damage to the nerves of the vocal chords
  • Loss of all parathyroid tissue (resulting in chronic low calcium levels)

If surgery is not the right solution for your hyperparathyroidism, you may wish to consider these other options:

  • Medications – Calcimimetics
  • Long-term follow-up
    • Includes consistent monitoring of the condition in addition to proper diet and exercise

In order to properly diagnose and treat hyperparathyroidism, it is incredibly important to talk to your doctor. Please contact the exceptional staff of Southern Surgical Lafayette today to schedule your own appointment by visiting our website or by calling one of our many offices in the Acadiana, LA area.