It is estimated that 1 in 100 people (1 in 50 women over the age of 50) have primary hyperparathyroid disease (pHPT) and the majority of them have no idea that they do. Most people are completely unaware that we have four PARAthyroid glands that are generally located right BEHIND the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the center of your neck, the master gland of metabolism. The parathyroid glands regulate calcium in the blood that should always remain in a very tight range that is normal. Normal ranges are age-dependent. A mature adult should never have a serum calcium value that exceeds 10.1.
If one or more of the parathyroid glands develops a non-cancerous adenoma the rogue gland produces too much parathyroid hormone (PTH) which then calls for calcium from the bones where calcium is stored. If calcium is not tightly regulated you are not going to feel well.
Given that the average patient goes undiagnosed for 8 + years, according to experts who ultimately perform surgeries to cure these patients, it is important to check your serum blood calcium levels.
If you are a mature adult and have calcium values that exceed 10.1 and suffer from any of the following conditions /symptoms, it is important to rule out whether a parathyroid tumor is the root cause:
- Diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis or experiencing fractures.
- Suffer from kidney stones, flank pain, frequent urination.
- Experience atrial fibrillation, heart palpitations or stroke
- Episodes of brain fog / confusion
- Mood issues such as mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks or depression.
- Gastrointestinal Issues – constipation, nausea, GERD, peptic ulcer, decreased appetite
- Bone pain, curvature of the spine, loss of height
- Gall Stones
- Low Vitamin D
- Calcification of and/or deposits of calcium in organs
If you think primary hyperparathyroid disease has perhaps been overlooked as a root cause of your problems/symptoms here are some things to do and be aware of:
- Ask to have your blood calcium, parathyroid hormone levels and Vitamin D checked together. It is their relationship to one another at the time of testing that is important in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
- Note that it is a hallmark of the disease to have calcium values fluctuate and they may fall into the normal range occasionally, even when a person is ill, therefore repeat testing is sometimes necessary for a proper evaluation.
- Become familiar with the various presentations of primary hyperparathyroid disease – classic (high calcium, high parathyroid hormone levels and low vitamin D) normohormonal (high calcium and normal parathyroid hormone levels) or normocalcemic (normal calcium and high parathyroid hormone levels).
PODCAST! LISTEN NOW! Learn more by listening to this podcast about the Normohormonal and Normocalcemic Presentations of primary hyperparathyroid disease:
The Parathyroid Peeps
Just found out that my calcium level is 10.4. I expressed concern to nurse practitioner but she said hers was high too so not to worry. I then told her as an RN for 40 years I knew that at my age,65, my level should be in 9’s. I decided to come back when PA or dr was there. She must have gotten concerned and done homework and I was call to come back and get a parathyroid hormone test. Of course being Christmas everything’s going slow.