On the back side of the thyroid gland, which is located along the front of your windpipe, there are four small glands known as parathyroid glands. These small glands are responsible for regulating your calcium levels, and too little or too much of this mineral can be detrimental to your health. When these glands produce too much parathyroid hormone, hyperparathyroidism occurs. This condition causes high levels of calcium to leach from your bones and build up in your bloodstream, and this puts you at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease and kidney stones. Here's an overview of the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment approach for hyperparathyroidism:
Causes And Symptoms
It's not always possible to determine why some people develop hyperparathyroidism, but common causes include a noncancerous growth on the gland that prevents it functioning properly and endocrine disruption, which can cause the parathyroid glands to become enlarged. On rare occasions, the presence of a cancerous tumour can cause the condition.
Early symptoms of hyperparathyroidism include fatigue, a general feeling of malaise, low mood and loss of appetite. As the condition progresses, you may experience bone and joint pain, increased urination, kidney pain or abdominal pain.
Diagnosis And Treatment
Hyperparathyroidism is diagnosed by an endocrinologist. They will take details of your symptoms and carry out blood tests and diagnostic imaging. Blood tests can confirm the presence of abnormal levels of calcium in your blood and high levels of the parathyroid hormone. Diagnostic imaging, such as an ultrasound and X-rays, can be used to determine if there are any growths on the parathyroid glands, whether you have kidney stones and if your bone density is abnormally low.
Once diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism, your doctor will create a treatment plan with you. The main treatment options are medication and surgery. Hormone replacement medication can be used to improve calcium retention in your bones, while calcimimetic drugs can be used to reduce the amount of parathyroid hormone being released by sending a signal to your parathyroid gland that there's more calcium in your bloodstream than there actually is.
Theparathyroid glands can also be surgically removed, and this can be a good option if the glands are enlarged. The procedure is carried out as a day case, and your parathyroid surgeon will make four small incisions in your neck to remove the glands. Surgery is generally only recommended if drug therapy has failed, as the nerves of your vocal cords can be damaged during the procedure.
If you suspect you have hyperparathyroidism, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away. Prompt treatment can prevent the need for surgery and allow you to manage your symptoms well.Share