Managing My Hypoparathyroidism
Hypoparathyroidism is complex but can be managed with help from your doctors.
You and your doctor will work together to develop a plan to manage your condition. Your doctor may recommend dietary changes, supplements, or medicines to help maintain the balance of calcium in your body. You can help your doctors manage your condition by keeping a journal of symptoms that may help them identify patterns.
Using calcium and active vitamin D to manage
symptoms and maintain blood levels
Using calcium and active vitamin D to manage symptoms and maintain blood levels
Calcium and active vitamin D are the main tools used to keep calcium and phosphorus levels within a specified range to limit your symptoms and reduce the risk of complications. If calcium and phosphorus levels can be kept within a target range you should experience reduced symptoms. Increased or new symptoms could be a sign that blood calcium levels are out of balance.
Your doctor might also consider other therapies.
An important first step in effective management of your calcium levels is finding the right doctor or team of doctors. Hypoparathyroidism can affect many systems in your body. So, in addition to your primary care physician, your team may include an endocrinologist, a nephrologist (kidney doctor), and a surgeon.
YOUR MEDICAL TEAM WILL WANT TO:
- Prevent symptoms of low blood calcium
- Keep your blood calcium level slightly below normal or in the low normal range
- Keep your blood calcium and blood phosphate in balance
- Avoid excessive calcium in your urine
- Avoid excessive calcium in your blood
- Avoid calcium being deposited in your kidneys and other soft tissues
When first diagnosed, your doctors will determine the calcium levels in your blood and urine. Based on these levels and any changes in your symptoms, your doctors will make adjustments to your calcium and/or vitamin D intake and to your diet.
YOUR DOCTORS WILL PERFORM THESE TESTS AS OFTEN AS NEEDED:
At least yearly blood tests for calcium, phosphate, magnesium, and kidney function
24-hour urine collection to check calcium levels and kidney function yearly or every second year
They may also take images of your kidneys or brain to look for calcium deposits, examine your eyes for cataracts, and track your bone density
Keep an open dialogue with your doctor so you can express how you're feeling.
Control of hypoparathyroidism can be challenging. Patients often require very high doses of calcium and active vitamin D to control hypoparathyroidism, which can lead to concerns for potential complications. Some people, despite taking very high amounts of calcium and active vitamin D, can experience wide swings in serum calcium.
SIGNS THAT YOU MAY NOT BE REACHING YOUR HYPOPARATHYROIDISM MANAGEMENT GOALS
- You are experiencing symptoms of low blood calcium
- Your blood calcium level is not in the correct range
- The combined calcium–phosphate level in your blood is out of balance
- There is an excessive level of calcium in your urine
- Calcium is depositing in your kidneys or other soft tissues
Talk to your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.