Everyone wants to be healthy. Unfortunately, unless you take active steps to maintain your health, as you get older, it is likely to deteriorate. I discovered this the hard way. For many years, I avoided visiting the doctor and I didn't really pay attention to my diet. As a result, I developed a number of medical conditions. Thankfully, the staff at my local healthcare clinic were able to help me to recover. From the moment I called and booked my first appointment, to the day of my surgery, the doctors and nurses supported me and explained every step of the treatment plan. I hope you like my blog.
The thyroid gland is reasonably well-known, but the parathyroid glands are often something that people are unaware of. There are four parathyroid glands in the neck, two on each side of the thyroid, and their purpose is to regulate the amount of calcium in the blood. Hyperparathyroidism is a condition which occurs when these glands are oversized and overactive, and it leads to too much calcium and too little phosphorus in the blood.
Causes of Hyperparathyroidism
The most common cause of hyperparathyroidism is a non-cancerous tumour on one of the parathyroid glands, although secondary hyperparathyroidism can be caused by a deficiency of calcium or vitamin D, as the Mayo Clinic explains. It is most common in post-menopausal women, and people who have had radiation treatment on their neck. That said, it is not always clear what causes hyperparathyroidism.
Symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism
The symptoms of this condition are, as MedicineNet explains, rather subtle and easy to overlook. An excess of calcium can lead to a range of symptoms, including loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and increased urination. More seriously, the condition can lead to brittle, weak bones, kidney stones, and even high blood pressure. If you have these symptoms, especially if you are especially at risk for hyperparathyroidism, you should see your GP.
How Hyperparathyroidism is Diagnosed
Hyperparathyroidism is a difficult condition to diagnose as the symptoms are so generic. It is usually discovered after a patient has been tested for another condition when a blood test reveals high levels of parathyroid hormone and calcium in the blood. However, if you are concerned about hyperparathyroidism, you can ask your GP to test you for the condition. When you have been diagnosed, you will probably be referred to a parathyroid specialist or surgeon for treatment.
Treatment for Hyperparathyroidism
As the NHS points out, while you may be offered bisphosphonate medication to lower your calcium levels, the only real way to treat hyperparathyroidism is through surgery. St George's Hospital describes the procedure, in which a parathyroid surgeon will make a small incision in the neck and remove some of all of the parathyroid glands. They explain that this is not usually a dangerous procedure, and you generally will not have to spend more than two days in the hospital. After the surgery, you may need to take supplemental calcium if instructed to do so by your surgeon.
Hyperparathyroidism can be a serious condition when left undiagnosed, leading to kidney and bone problems. However, with an accurate diagnosis and the help of a parathyroid surgeon, the condition is completely treatable with a simple surgical procedure.Share