Hidden Calcium Danger

From: Better Homes and Gardens

Too much of this bone-building mineral may actually hurt you.

If you’re feeling unusually fatigued or depressed, ask your doctor to check your blood calcium levels. You may be one of the estimated 100,000 people per year in the United States who has hyperparathyroidism, a problem that leaves too much calcium in your blood and not enough where you need it–your bones. …(click on the more link below)…

Hyperparathyroidism occurs when the parathyroid glands in your neck produce too much of the hormone that regulates blood calcium levels. Your body essentially robs calcium from your bones, dumps it in your blood, and prevents your kidneys from excreting it. This raises your risk for osteoporosis and kidney stones.

Besides fatigues and depresion, other symptoms of the condition include muscle weakness, nausea, headaches, and constipation, says Dr. Sundeep Khosla, professor of medicine at the Mayo School of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota.

If you are younger than 45, have blood calcium levels above 11.5, and severe symptoms, surgery to remove the affected glands may be the best option, says Dr. David A. Zackson, director of calcium metabolism and kidney stone prevention in the division of endocrinology at Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City. If you are older than 55, have blood calcium levels below 11.5, and no signs of osteoporosis or other symptoms, a wait-and-see aproach may be best. Talk to your doctor about getting annual checks of blood calcium and parathyroid hormone levels.

Some ways to prevent hyperparathyroid symptoms include:
* Getting a prescription for bisphosphonate medication, such as Fosamax, to counteract bone loss.
* Avoiding blood pressure-lowering Thiazide drugs, such as Accoretic, which raises calcium levels in people with hyperparathyroidism.
* Working with your doctor to pinpoint your optimal calcium intake. Most people with hyperparathyroidism need only 600 to 800 daily milligrams of calcium form all food sources.

Meanwhile, pharmaceutical company Amgen is developing a drug that reduces parathyroid hormone. If approved, the drug could be available in 3 to 5 years.

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