Tertiary HyperParaThyroidism is becoming common among older individuals. Or maybe we are just beginning to notice what it really is. The blood tests are the same as Primary HyperParaThyroidism – high Calcium and high PTH. But the cause and treatment are very different.
Tertiary HyperParaThyroidism happens when Secondary HyperParaThyroidism has been going on for so long that the “thermostat is reset too high”. The ParaThyroid Glands have been maintaining a high PTH level for so long that they forget to shut off when Calcium levels are high enough.
Treatment of Primary HyperParaThyroidism requires surgical removal of the Adenoma (benign tumor). Increasing calcium intake before surgery makes things worse.
Treatment of Tertiary HyperParaThyroidism is the opposite. It requires increasing Calcium intake enough that the ParaThyroid Glands gradually reset their “thermostat” to the correct level. This must be done carefully and with patience. I recently completed a year-long gradual correction of a case of Tertiary HyperParaThyroidism.
The trick is recognizing that we can successfully treat a high blood calcium by increasing calcium in the diet. This is not for the faint of heart. Frequent lab tests are needed to do this safely.
If you have consistantly high blood calcium, but have no Adenoma on ParaThyroid Scan, you probably have Tertiary HyperParaThyroidism. Get a Complete Bone Health Evaluation to be sure.
Take Control Naturally. Prevent Fractures. Identify and Treat Tertiary HyperParaThyroidism.
Jay Ginther, MD