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Hyperparathyroidism and Kidney Disease


Hyperparathyroidism is a common complication of kidney disease where the parathyroid glands produce excess parathyroid hormone. The parathyroid glands are located in the neck and regulate the body's blood levels of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D.


Complications of Hyperparathyroidism

Hyperparathyroidism should be addressed because when left untreated it can lead to:

  • Weak bones and bone fractures

  • Buildup of calcium in other parts of the body: blood vessels and kidneys → which may cause harm to these structures

  • Imbalance of certain nutrients: calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D in the body


When Should Hyperparathyroidism Be Screened?

It is often recommended that all patients with a glomerular filtration rate of less than 60 (stage 3 or higher) be screened for hyperparathyroidism. This is because hyperparathyroidism is common in kidney disease and often present in most patients at stage 3 or higher.


How is Hyperparathyroidism Treated?

There are several changes that can be seen in the blood work in those with hyperparathyroidism. Dietary recommendations and supplementation are recommended based on what nutrients are affected in the blood work.


It is extremely important to speak with a health professional before considering any supplementation because levels of nutrients can be affected differently from person to person. The kidneys are very sensitive to certain minerals. For example, there is concern that treating low blood calcium with supplemental calcium may increase the risk of a buildup of calcium in the arteries. Compromised kidneys cannot remove calcium from the blood as easily and the combination of reduced excretion of calcium plus supplementation can easily lead to high calcium levels in the body. Furthermore, data suggest that blood and urine calcium tests often cannot accurately determine whether calcium is beginning to accumulate.


Concluding Remarks

In summary, hyperparathyroidism poses significant risks for individuals with kidney disease, including bone weakening and nutrient imbalances. Screening is recommended for those with a glomerular filtration rate below 60 to detect it early. Treatment often involves dietary adjustments and supplementation, as improper management can lead to further complications like calcium buildup in arteries. Thus, personalized care and close monitoring are vital in managing hyperparathyroidism in kidney disease patients. If you are interested in screening for hyperparathyroidism, you can reach out to us here.


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