Hypoparathyroidism is a rare condition in which the body releases unusually low levels of parathyroid hormone. They play a crucial role in regulating and maintaining a balance of your body's levels of calcium and phosphorus.
Low production of hormones in hypoparathyroidism leads to peculiarly low ionized calcium levels in your blood and bones and a rise of serum phosphorus.
Factors causing hypoparathyroidism
The low production of parathyroid hormones results in low calcium levels in your blood and bones and an increase of serum phosphorus. Causes of hypoparathyroidism include:
- Acquired hypoparathyroidism: This most common cause of hypoparathyroidism develops after damage to the parathyroid glands either because or surgery or accident. For the diseases of the nearby thyroid gland, throat cancer or neck cancer, the surgery may be the only treatment.
- Autoimmune disease: This is a condition where your immune system creates antibodies against the parathyroid tissues and attacks them as if they were foreign bodies. The result of this is that parathyroid glands stop manufacturing their hormone.
- Hereditary hypoparathyroidism: In this condition, either the parathyroid glands are absent at birth or they don’t function properly. Certain kinds of hereditary hypoparathyroidism are linked with deficiencies of other hormone-producing glands.
- Radiation treatment: In some cases, radiation can result in destruction of your parathyroid glands, so as the radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism.
- Low levels of magnesium in your blood: Low levels of magnesium can interfere with the functionality of your parathyroid glands. Normal serum magnesium levels are mandatory for optimum secretion of parathyroid hormone.
Signs and symptoms of hypoparathyroidism may include:
- Burning sensation in your fingertips, toes and lips
- Cramping of legs, feet, abdomen or face
- Spasms of your muscles, particularly around your mouth, but also in your hands, arms and throat
- Fatigue or weakness
- Painful menstruation
- Patchy hair loss, such as thinning of your eyebrows
- Dry, coarse skin
- Brittle nails
- Depression, mood swings
- Memory problems
The objective of the treatment is to minimize symptoms and stabilize levels of calcium and phosphorus in your body. It may include:
- Oral calcium supplements can increase calcium levels in your blood. But a high dose can cause gastrointestinal side effects like constipation.
- High doses of vitamin D can help your body absorb calcium and eliminate phosphorus.
- A diet rich in calcium can help the cause. Eat a lot of dairy products, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, kale, and fortified orange juice and breakfast cereals.
- Remember to avoid carbonated soft drinks, which contain phosphorus in the form of phosphoric acid, and restricting eggs and meats.
- Your endocrinologist will regularly check your blood to keep an eye on the levels of calcium and phosphorus. At first, these tests will probably be weekly to monthly. Eventually, you'll need blood tests just twice a year.
People suffering from hypoparathyroidism can control their symptoms if given appropriate treatment regularly. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications of hypoparathyroidism.