Primary hyperparathyroidism is a disease of calcium imbalance caused by a non-cancerous adenoma(s). Because calcium is an important regulator of many cellular functions in all of the body’s organ systems, symptoms vary.
Medical students are often taught a rhyme similar to the following to recall the effects of excess blood calcium levels: Moans, Stones, Groans and Bones. On medecinenet.com, using the rhyme, the symptoms are sorted into these four categories. Unfortunately symptoms related to the heart (palpitations, irregular beat, calcification of the heart valves leading to stroke etc) and others often experienced by patients, are not included in this textbook rhyme that is seemingly incomplete and outdated.
Moans (gastrointestinal conditions):
Stones (kidney-related conditions):
- Kidney stones
- Flank pain
- Frequent urination
Groans (psychological conditions)
Bones (bone pain and bone-related conditions):
- Bone aches and pain
- Curving of the spine and loss of height
A New Way to Recall the Symptoms
Inspired by the High Blood Calcium Is Bad national campaign underway by the Norman Parathyroid Center, Parathyroid Peeps compiled a list of the symptoms traditionally associated with the disease and included those recognized by parathyroid experts. Many are symptoms we personally experienced and that patients commonly report anecdotally, that are resolved after surgery.
The first initials of the phrase HIGH CALCIUM IS BAD are used to create a new way to perhaps associate the symptoms:
H Heart (Fluttering, Palpitations, Stroke, Attack)
G Gastrointestinal distress / GERD
H Hair loss
C Calcification deposits in organs
A Anxiety/Panic Attacks
L Low Vitamin D (body responding to the high calcium)
C Curvature of the spine / loss of height / osteopenia / osteoporosis
I Inability to sleep through the night / night sweats.
U Urination may be frequent / flank pain (from stones)
M Memory loss
I Inability to concentrate / brain fog
S Stones: kidney and/or gallstones
B Bone issues: Pain, Fractures, Osteomalacia (softening)
A Achy joints / Arthritis
D Depression / Fatigue