Treating Hyperparathyroidism Effectively

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Do you sometimes feel as though you’re permanently exhausted, having very little energy and no real appetite most days? Or perhaps you’ve noticed that you often seem to feel confused or argumentative? If so, you may be suffering from a condition called hyperparathyroidism, which affects the parathyroid glands. Other symptoms of this illness include unexplained vomiting, disturbed sleep, poor memory, bone pain, excessive thirst and a need to pass urine frequently.

In many cases sufferers only experience mild symptoms and don’t realise they’re suffering from the disease until it’s diagnosed by chance, following routine blood tests. If any of the symptoms above do sound familiar then it’s vital you see your doctor as the condition can get progressively worse and, left untreated, can put you at risk of serious conditions such as stomach ulcers, pancreatitis, osteoporosis, heart disease and kidney stones.

Every year there are about 15,000 new cases of hyperparathyroidism diagnosed in the UK and those over the age of 50 are most at risk.

Your parathyroid glands are four pea-sized glands located behind your thyroid gland in the front of your neck. Their main function is to produce a hormone called parathyroid hormone (PTH), which helps regulate levels of calcium and phosphorous in your body. Calcium is important for bone health, muscle contractions and the transmission of messages along your nerve pathways. Phosphorous confers strength and rigidity to your bones and teeth.

There are two types of hyperparathyroidism:

1. primary hyperparathyroidism and

2. secondary hyperparathyroidism.

The latter occurs as a result of another medical condition, like kidney failure, which makes the body resistant to the action of PTH. This form of the disease is normally brought under control once the underlying problem has been successfully treated. Primary hyperparathyroidism is a disorder of the parathyroid glands themselves and occurs when one or more malfunction and produce too much PTH. This results in supplies of calcium becoming depleted in the bones and rising to abnormally high levels in the blood instead. This form of the disease can be caused by a variety of factors, most commonly it is the result of a tumour (benign in most cases) in one of the glands, or an enlargement of one or more of the glands – a condition known as hyperplasia.

Although the condition doesn’t always produce any symptoms… simple tests can detect it straight away

As already mentioned, it’s imperative that this condition is diagnosed properly and treated accordingly. A diagnosis is made following simple tests, including x-rays that can reveal any bone or kidney abnormalities, and blood tests which evaluate calcium levels and how much PTH is being produced by your parathyroid glands. Calcium levels may also be determined by measuring the amount of calcium present in the urine over a 24-hour period.

The main conventional treatment available involves an operation to remove the overactive parathyroid glands. While surgery can be successful in overcoming the problem and may be necessary when a tumour is present, it should not be undertaken lightly in less severe cases. Possible complications include infection, damage to the vocal cords, and hypoparathyroidism – the opposite problem, whereby underactive parathyroid glands do not produce enough PTH, causing low levels of calcium in the blood. This can cause tingling in the hands, fingers and mouth in addition to severe muscle cramps and convulsions.

Safe and effective alternatives to help lower calcium levels in your blood

Other than surgery doctors have very little else to offer sufferers of the disease. In mild to moderate cases of both secondary and primary hyperparathyroidism (where there are only slight elevations in blood calcium levels and normal kidney and bone health) symptoms can often be successfully controlled through natural measures, including:

Vitamin D supplements: Some cases of hyperparathyroidism are not a result of a tumour but a vitamin D deficiency instead, specifically a deficiency of vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 sends signals to your parathyroid glands to regulate the production of PTH and limit the amount of calcium in your blood, so a deficiency can soon upset this process and increase the risk of the disease. The recommended dose of vitamin D3 is 1,000iu daily.

Researchers from the University of St Louis in Missouri, in the US, have isolated new variants of vitamin D, called 19-nor-1,25OH-D3 and 19-nor-1,25-OH-D2. They have been found to suppress the production of PTH and reduce excessive levels of calcium in the blood, while increasing calcium concentrations in the bones.

These chemical variants of vitamin D can be found in standard vitamin D supplements – check the label to see if they are included in the preparation.

Natural HRT that contains plant hormones obtained from red clover. This can be useful for older women (particularly menopausal women) who have a lack of oestrogen, as this can interfere with PTH production and disturb calcium metabolism.

Natural HRT helps reverse this by replacing lost oestrogen, as the plant oestrogen molecules it contains are extremely similar to oestrogen stores in the body. Check the product’s label for dosage instructions.

Calcium-alpha-ketoglutarate: This mineral is a special form of calcium that helps normalise concentrations of ordinary calcium in the body. Patients with hyperparathyroidism frequently have elevated levels of the mineral phosphate, alongside too much calcium, in their blood. Phosphate and calcium levels are normally kept in balance, but hyperparathyroidism disrupts this control mechanism.

Calcium-alpha-ketoglutarate binds to excess phosphate and eliminates it, which helps re-establish the balance between calcium and phosphate. In a 3-year study conducted in Germany, 14 patients with hyperparathyroidism were treated with calcium-alpha-ketoglutarate. This caused a significant reduction in high phosphate and calcium levels, and encouraged the production of PTH at a normal rate.

Check the product’s label for dosage instructions. It’s extremely important that you keep your doctor fully informed about what course of action you decide to take, and that you have regular checkups in order to monitor the progression of the disease.


Disclaimer: This article is part of the Daily Health's extensive research archive. The research and information contained in this article was accurate at the the time of publication but may have been updated since the date of publication. Consult our most recent articles for the latest research on alternative health and natural breakthroughs.

Bear in mind the material provided in this content is for information purposes only. We are not addressing anyone’s personal situation. Please consult with your own physician before acting on any recommendations contained herein.

Sources:

Miner Electrolyte Metab 1996,22 (1-3): 196-199

Otolaryngol Clin North Am 1996,29(4):663-679

Kidney Int Suppl 2003, 85:83-87

Ann Int Med 1996, 125(5):360-368

Bone 1997,20(6):557-562

Clin Endocrinol 1998, 48(4):435-443

Osteoporosis Intern 1998, 8(2):S1-S2

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  • I base my information on the work of the expert Dr. James Norman of the Norman Parathyroid Center.
    Not meant to be a “rant”, just concerned about people with HPT harming themselves.

    Parathyroid.com is their educational site and worth at least a look, no? I have NO affiliation.

  • P.S. Jeane, what do you base your vitamin D rant on… any reliable scientific journals or sources? Otherwise you could seriously confuse people with what you say.

  • Thanks for your articles on Thyroid… very helpful and also the fact that you list your refernces (which btw I see for this are all medical journals) at the bottom of your posts… it adds so much weight to your info… I’m off to the docs with this.

  • Lack of vitamin D does not cause secondary hyperparathyroidism.
    The body’s homeostatic control mechanisms will NOT allow blood calcium to rise due to low D3.

    Actually the low D3 is the bodies protective mechanism to try and keep the blood calcium lower in the face of a parathyroid adenoma.

  • The Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institute for Health also has a brilliant section on vitamin D and I agree with what you say on this site… People need much more D!!!

  • What a great site!!! I love all the info on vitamon D. It’s really well researched and thank you for adding your refernces too. I won’t go without my daily vitamin D supplement… I’ve heard that some think (fools they are) that taking Vit D can cause your calcium levels to soar and give you a stroke… but as far as I know and from what I’ve read in medical journals this is a load of nonsense… Especially since the best source of D is the sun… so does this mean that if you are out in the sun and your body synthesyses 10 000IU in 15 minutes (which it does) you’re up for getting a stroke? Don’t think so…

    According to the Institute of Medicine, Food and Nutrition Board, Washington, DC, Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate serum calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bone and to prevent hypocalcemic tetany. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality also stipulate that D is also needed for bone growth and bone remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Without sufficient vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D sufficiency prevents rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis… So, this whol calcium/ stroke myth is just plain twang!

  • everything you need to know is on this site.YOU WILL NOT BE IN THE DARK ANYMORE…..i have hyper myself but not for long’

  • I was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis earlier this year – 43% bone density lost from part of my spine – but not age related (not picked up by my GP 3 years ago). I was put on Alendronic Acid tablets & then started various tests & scans at hosp which didn’t show up very much. However, blood/calcium levels were too high & so I went in for op quite quickly in August. It went very well, lasted much longer than expected but I suffered no pain or discomfort & was home the next day – no real recuperation was necessary & the small scar is healing very well. Last week I went to see my consultant, who was very pleased, & I had a blood test to check blood/calcium levels. Two days ago my GP delivered the bad news that the levels are up again, so now I don’t know if I’ll have to have another parathyroid removed, or if there’s some different reason. Will check with the endocrinologist re: Vitamin D3 & HRT.

  • Looking for an alternative to surgery for primary hyperparathyroidism? VitD3 levels are fine – enlarged parathyroid gland only 40 yrs old- any suggestions?

  • The article is great. I will try the Red Clover but as for the suggested calcium & vit D variants (not listed on any product label in California US) – where can these be obtained? About 7 mos ago I was diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism. The tests revealed no tumors in the parathyroids but showed 2 very small growths on the thyroid. My Endo prescribed 4-5,000 iu Vit D daily & had me stop all calcium supplimentation. Testing 3 mos later showed my blood calcium was higher. The Dr would have sent me for surgery then but I had mistakenly taken the wrong amount of Vit D so he agreed to see what the testing in 3 mos looked like. If the blood calcium level isn’t down he plans to send me for surgery. I don’t want exploratory surgery since there is not a visible tumor. I am 55, going thru menopause, have stage 1 HBP, & have allergies (compromised immune system). I try to maintain a balanced diet. I can actually sleep most nights now since taking the high dose Vit D – so I know there was a deficiency. Is there a relationship to having my hormones all askew (from “normal” aging) and the parathyroids acting up? Is there something I can do to balance things out and avoid exploratory surgery? Thanks in advance for any and all help you can give me!

  • I was diagnosed with a hyperparathyroidism 5 years ago, I have a tumor, 2 years ago I was told I needed surgery to remove the tumor then I had all the tests and it was discovered my parathyroid gland and tumor is in my chest near my heart. Now the surgeon doesn’t want to do the surgery despite me having all the symptoms related to hyperparathyroidism and feeling like enough is enough. He wants me to take HRT but despite taking medication can’t get my hypertension under control which means I can’t take it. So far this year I’ve not worked as I am off sick because of BP problem I am at my wits end feel as if i’m going round in circles and feel like no one is listening. What can I do I want the tumor out and the symptoms from the hyperparathyroidism are driving me up the wall and i’m so depressed what the hell do I do next.

  • I have had all the scans and blood tests, one of my parathyroid glands has a tumour, how long should I have to wait for surgery? I feel so tired and fuzzy headed along with all the usual symptoms all the time and just want to feel real again and get back to work, I don’t want to loose my job. My employers are very sympathetic, this was diagnosed 2 months ago. Does anyone know how long the waiting lists are, I have been told that I need the surgery but the hospital just keep ‘passing the buck’

  • I have a parathyroide hormone level of 8.3 pth & ostioporosis I would like any natural cure suggestions

  • I have been diagnosed with secondary hyperparathyroidism,due to a malabsorption syndrome,takin mega doses of calcium and vitamin d tends to lower my pth levels,but I still do not feel good,is it safe to take upwards of 3000mg of calcium carbonate daily,drs are having a very difficult time finding the cause of the malabsorption

  • The surgery is 20-min. If you have one or two easily identified benign tumours on the gland. If the scan does not clearly show what gland is affected, the surgery is much more complicated with higher risk of compplications and 2-3 hrs with a general aneasthetic. My scan did not show anything and I am looking for alternatives to surgery.

  • Currently, I have every symptom listed for hyperparathyroidism, which started in my mid-30s. I will try Vitamin D3. Although there is a simple 20-minute procedure for removing tumors I would rather seek another way to revert the parathyroid glands to normal. Any suggestions?

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