Hyperparathyroidism is found in a surprising number of patients by testing for PTH level.
Primary Hyperparathyroidism remains rare. We have found 3 cases in 4 years. However, we are finding Secondary Hyperparathyroidism virtually every week. Last week we found 3 in one day.
The Parathyroid glands lie on the surface of the Thyroid gland. The Thyroid is shaped like a butterfly sitting on the voice box in the throat. The Parathyroid glands are placed like 4 spots on the butterfly’s wings.
The Parathyroid glands produce Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) which raises the Calcium in the blood by stimulating the Osteoclast cells that eat away bone. If the Calcium goes down, the PTH goes up, and then the Calcium goes up.
If serum calcium goes down too far, the heart will stop. Therefore, if you do not get enough available calcium in your diet, you need to steal calcium from your bones to keep the heart going. This eventually leads to Osteoporosis.
You need to get 1200 to 1500 mg calcium daily to keep from stealing calcium from your bones. Many people have trouble digesting Calcium Carbonate. That is why we recommend Calcium Citrate if you do not have enough calcium in your diet.
Remember that you need enough Vitamin D in order to absorb calcium from diet and supplements. Check your Vitamin D level too.
Jay Ginther, MD
2009, Revised May 2011