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Symptoms of hyperparathyroidism

Humans have four parathyroid glands that sit behind the thyroid located in the throat.

Hyperparathyroidism leads to an increase in the level of blood calcium, which is the primary cause of the following:

  • Atrial fibrillation: Also known as A-fib, this occurs when the two chambers of the upper and lower heart muscles don’t work together, which causes an irregular heartbeat.
  • Body aches: This condition can manifest regardless of exercise level or other lifestyle factors.
  • Fatigue: This lack of energy to complete everyday tasks persists regardless of how many hours of sleep a patient gets each night.
  • Low levels of Vitamin D: Vitamin D helps to absorb calcium, maintain strong bones, reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and regulate healthy cells, so a lack of this important vitamin can have myriad negative effects.
  • Memory loss: This can affect both short-term and long-term memory.
  • Kidney stones: These occur when the urine contains uric acid, calcium, and other crystal-forming substances that cannot be diluted. The tiny stones cause significant pain and may require surgical removal.
  • Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis involves the progressive loss of bone strength and is especially common in older women. Untreated osteoporosis can cause bones to break easily from a minor fall.
  • Poor sleep quality: Although hyperparathyroidism causes fatigue, it’s still difficult for sufferers to get a good night’s sleep due to the pain and discomfort of other symptoms.

The above list represents only some of the symptoms of hyperparathyroidism. When the body’s temperature regulator defaults to high, this causes calcium to be pulled from the bones, which explains why many of the symptoms of this condition relate to bone loss and all-over body pain. As a result, many sufferers describe "just not feeling like themselves" for a period of time before they can articulate exactly what is wrong.

Treating the symptoms of parathyroid disease 

Symptoms generally include the following: fatigue, tiredness and malaise. Joint pain, bone pain, lack of concentration and even personality changes are also typical symptoms. Patients commonly report muscle weakness and state that they are “not quite as strong as they used to be” , however, they will often blame these complaints on their age. Some patients will describe having difficulties getting out of a chair as a result of their proximal muscle weakness.

Many patients have a history of kidney stones or blood in their urine, or a recent history of bone fractures. Other symptoms include frequent urination and urination at night.

Hyperparathyroidism can run in families. There is definitely a familial association with primary hyperparathyroidism, and it can be experienced in tandem with something called multiple endocrine neoplasia, a constellation of endocrine problems. If you have multiple family members who have had issues with primary hyperparathyroidism, then you certainly want to let your doctor know so that this can be investigated and evaluated. If you have MEN, you will likely want to have genetic testing performed. This is something to discuss in more detail with your surgeon and/or your endocrinologist.

Parathyroid of Texas understands that a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work in the management of this disease. Some patients may respond well to medication, while others will require hormone replacement therapy or surgery. If you or a loved one recognize these hyperparathyroidism symptoms, contact Parathyroid of Texas to learn more about your treatment options.