Women are at higher risk than men to develop osteoporosis, or weakening of the bones. In an effort to prevent this, you may have been advised to take calcium and/or vitamin D supplements. While this is good advice if you’re not getting enough calcium or vitamin D in your diet, it may not protect you from getting brittle bones.
Recent research shows that a thyroid condition, hyperparathyroidism, is linked to weakening bones in women and is more common than once thought. When your parathyroids aren’t working correctly, your body can’t get the calcium it needs. If you have this condition, no amount of supplements or change in diet will help.
If you are experiencing hyperparathyroidism, you probably wouldn’t know it. That’s because many times there are no symptoms, and the symptoms that do show, like depression, kidney stones, muscle fatigue, bone and joint pain, and memory loss are often confused with something else.
If you have high blood calcium levels, you should have follow-up testing for PTH and vitamin D levels. Together these three tests can confirm hyperparathyroidism.
If hyperparathyroidism is confirmed, surgery is most often the recommended treatment. The affected glands are removed, and the healthy ones continue to regulate calcium.
Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at UCFHealth.com, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.
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