Have you been struggling to find clear & concise hyperparathyroidism treatment information on the internet? If so, you’re not alone.
For a lot of people experiencing kidney failure, hyperparathyroidism is by far one of the most puzzling of all complications – this is somewhat due to the fact that most people are unaware that there is even such a gland that exists in the body, but mostly due to the fact there is hardly any information out there on how to treat hyperparathyroidism effectively (and naturally).
It is therefore my goal with this blog post to demystify hyperparathyroidism treatment, and to provide a quality resource of information you can refer back to treat hyperparathyroidism naturally. I’ve made sure I have given you 7 of my best tips on how to reverse it.
Getting To Know Your Parathyroid Gland
Before we can treat parathyroid disease we need to know then, what it is, and its function.
The parathyroid gland is actually a collection of glands situated in the neck, behind the thyroid gland – which lies over the voice box. There are four parathyroid glands in total (though some individuals can be born with more), and surprisingly all four of them are the size of a grain of rice! It blows my mind that such small glands can have such an influence on the body.
The only function of the parathyroid gland is to manage calcium levels within the blood; this is an important job, as your entire nervous and muscular systems’ functionality depends on it. Our nervous system literally communicates from the presence of calcium, or I could say one nerve communicates to another nerve through the electrical conductivity of calcium. Not only that, but calcium is also required for muscular function, particularly muscular contraction – magnesium on the other hand relaxes muscles.
So What Does The Parathyroid Do?
Well, the parathyroid gland is like a 24 hour calcium monitor, when the gland detects that blood calcium levels have dropped under a certain amount, they produce parathyroid hormone (PTH).
The goal of the parathyroid hormone is to increase circulating blood levels of calcium. It does this in four ways:
1. PTH causes the skeletal bones to break down and release calcium into the blood stream
2. PTH increases absorption of calcium via the intestines by activating vitamin D (this activation occurs within the kidneys)
3. PTH increases reabsorption of calcium via the kidneys
4. PTH increases the excretion of phosphate in the urine. Phosphate inhibits the rise of calcium in the blood. Both calcium and phosphorus work on a see-saw effect – when one is up the other is low.
That all make sense? Good.
So How Does It All Go Wrong?
Because this website is dedicated to helping those with kidney disease, we’ll just concentrate on the issues that relate and affect you… Hyperparathyroidism can be caused in a number of ways (benign tumour growth, hyperplasia, and carcinoma) but when one has kidney disease it occurs for a number of different reasons. These different reasons cause what is termed “secondary hyperparathyroidism”, because they cause hyperparathyroidism indirectly. As you will soon see.
Note: This is where it is important to pay attention as it is these causes we turn in to the basis of our hyperparathyroidism treatment => which leads to healing.
The Causes Of Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (remember hyperparathyroidism treatment starts from here)
1. When the kidneys begin to decline, their ability to remove phosphate from the blood also declines: As you may remember phosphate acts as an antagonist to calcium, so when high levels of phosphate are in the blood supply, there are low levels of calcium. This in turn will cause the parathyroid gland to produce more PTH to increase calcium levels.
2. Kidneys on the decline also have trouble converting vitamin D to its most biologically active form. This in turn reduces absorption of calcium via the intestines.
Therefore in kidney disease hyperparathyroidism is caused by low active forms of Vitamin D, and high phosphate levels… which cause low calcium, and therefore an overactive parathyroid!
What Are The Symptoms and Problems Associated With Secondary Hyperparathyroidism?
The main problem with this type of hyperparathyroidism is that calcium and phosphorus bind together. This binding causes bone disease because calcium is taken from the bones, making them weak and brittle, and then calcifies in various parts of the body. It is this calcification that causes most of the problems. Calcification is essentially deposits of calcium phosphate in places where it should not occur.
Symptoms and Complications
• Breathing problems
• Heart problems
• High blood pressure
• Itchy red eyes
• Itchy skin
• Joint pain
• Joint spurs
• Kidney stones
• Lung disease
• Muscle weakness
• Nausea and vomiting
Secondary Hyperparathyroidism Treatment
Now with that all in mind hyperparathyroidism treatment should be simple right? Well, for the most part it is.
Secondary hyperparathyroidism usually occurs when there is too little calcium in the blood stream, hence the increased production of PTH. Therefore it would make sense to treat secondary hyperparathyroidism with calcium, yes? Correct, but not always.
If you are sitting in front of a computer right now reading this and you have an overactive parathyroid YOU MUST TEST YOUR CACLIUM LEVELS FIRST. You see if your parathyroid has been overactive and left untreated for too long, it stays overactive no matter how much calcium there actually is in the blood stream – it’s like the body has forgotten to reset itself. The unfortunate reality is that this is a very common occurrence.
The Top 7 Treatments for Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (in no particular order)
1. Phosphate Reduction Diet
As far as natural treatments are concerned this is a very effective hyperparathyroidism treatment. By reducing ingested phosphates from the diet you can really put the brakes on this type of parathyroid disease. It may require you to eliminate some of your most favourite foods, but what is health REALLY worth to you?
High phosphate foods include:
Dairy (milk, butter, cream, yoghurt, ice-cream, cheese), soft drinks/fizzy drinks, cereals, biscuits, cakes, chocolate, fish (salmon, herrings, kippers, prawns, sardines, scallops), nuts and seeds, eggs, soy products, baking powder, malted drinks, meats (including: pate, veal, game, offal), lentils, chicken, dried fruit, whole grains (wheat, oat, brown rice).
Note: It doesn’t mean you can never eat those foods again, but it does mean while you have an overactive parathyroid you should limit the intake of all these foods to a minimum. Especially dairy foods.
2. Vitamin D
As you will see with calcium vitamin D should only be used when you know for certain that you need it, and that you can take it.
When should you take vitamin D? It is really quite simple, you need to take vitamin D if your test results show less than 100 nmol/L of vitamin D in your blood (or less than 40 ng/ml – USA measurement). BUT THAT IS ONLY IF YOU HAVE LOW to NORMAL CALCIUM LEVELS IN YOUR BLOOD.
A calcium test is also required.
If you have high calcium levels and then take vitamin D (even if your vitamin D is on the low side) this will increase your calcium levels even further. Vitamin D improves absorption of calcium in the intestines.
Dosage for vitamin D varies greatly, from 1000 to 5000IU daily. Speak to your health care professional to make sure you get the right dose.
Note: In some circumstances vitamin D supplementation will be necessary while you have high blood calcium levels; this is when you have very low vitamin D. If you have a vitamin D level of less than 50 nmol/L or 20 ng/ml then it is necessary for you to take. The dose however would be no more than 500IU a day while you have high calcium levels, while being monitored regularly.
3. Chaste Tree (botanical name: Vitex agnus castus)
This herb supports the function of the parathyroid gland, and is an effective hyperparathyroidism treatment. Dose 500-1000mg daily.
4. Calcium Citrate
This is only to be used in individuals with low to normal calcium blood levels. This provides bone support and helps decrease production of PTH. Take 500 – 1000 mg a day.
5. Ipriflavone (Soy isoflavones)
This hyperparathyroidism treatment helps prevent bone loss – a serious concern of those with parathyroid disease. Because hyperparathyroidism may lead to osteoporosis, supplementing with ipriflavone can help treat this cause of bone loss.
This important nutrient helps support bone health, and prevents abnormal calcification -which is a major problem. Dose: 20-30mg a day.
7. Phosphate Binders
Although I am not a huge fan of drugs, sometimes you just need to take them; they can be very effective and provide rapid results. Phosphate binders are an effective hyperparathyroidism treatment that the medical doctors provide, and there are two types I recommend in kidney disease:
1. Calcium salts (carbonate, lactate or acetate), and
2. Aluminium hydroxide (eg Alucaps).
They both have their pros and cons, and it is your decision with which one you use. Calcium salts are safer long-term (and are my favourite), though are not suitable for those with high calcium levels. Aluminium hydroxide on the other hand is toxic long-term, due to the aluminium, though can be safely used in those with high calcium blood levels.
Please note: In patients with chronic renal failure, treatment consists of dietary restriction of phosphorus, supplements with an active form of vitamin D such as calcitriol, Hectorol, Zemplar(paricalcitol), etc. and phosphate binders which can be divided into calcium-based and non-calcium based.
As you can see there are plenty of treatment options for those with parathyroid disease, though before beginning any hyperparathyroidism treatment you MUST make sure you have been properly and thoroughly tested. Otherwise how can you treat effectively?
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Until next time… live a happy healthy life!