Hyperparathyroidism is a medical condition that occurs when the parathyroid glands produce too much of a hormone known as the parathyroid hormone. The parathyroid glands are found in the neck, and the hormone produced by these glands is responsible for controlling the levels of phosphorous, vitamin D, and calcium in the blood and bones of the body. Some of the symptoms of hyperparathyroidism may include blurred vision, fatigue, or pain in the muscles, joints, and bones. Hyperparathyroidism treatment depends on the underlying cause of the condition as well as the severity of the symptoms. Mild cases of hyperparathyroidism may only require frequent blood tests so that the doctor can monitor the condition, while more extreme cases may require surgical intervention.
There are two basic forms of hyperparathyroidism, known as primary and secondary hyperparathyroidism. Primary hyperparathyroidism occurs when one or more of the parathyroid glands becomes enlarged. This leads to excess production of the parathyroid hormone, which in turn causes the calcium levels of the blood to become elevated. This is the most common form of hyperparathyroidism. Secondary hyperparathyroidism occurs when calcium levels in the blood are too low, leading to increased production of the parathyroid hormone. The most common reasons for secondary hyperparathyroidism are low vitamin D levels or a medical condition in which calcium is not absorbed properly from the intestines.
Hyperparathyroidism treatment depends largely upon finding the reason for the excess hormone production. For instance, in many cases of secondary hyperparathyroidism, simply bringing the body's vitamin D levels to a normal range will often correct the problem. In fact, in many cases, if an underlying medical condition causes the excess hormone production, treating the underlying condition, such as malnutrition, will often return the hormone production to a normal level.
Patients who have no noticeable symptoms and only slightly elevated calcium levels may require very little hyperparathyroidism treatment. In these cases, the patient may be asked to return to the doctor on a periodic basis for blood tests to make sure the condition has not worsened, but without any symptoms, no treatment is actually needed. If hyperparathyroidism treatment is needed, it may involve such measures as beginning a moderate exercise routine or increasing fluids in an effort to prevent the development of kidney stones due to the excess calcium in the body. The use if diurectics, more commonly referred to as water pills, is often discouraged.
In severe cases of hyperparathyroidism or if hyperparathyroidism treatment has not been successful, surgical intervention may become necessary. This type of surgery consists of removing the gland that is responsible for the overproduction of the parathyroid gland. Many doctors prefer to only consider this type of surgical intervention in patients who are age 50 or younger, as the prognosis and healing time are much more favorable in this age group.