Parathyroid treatment and disease is often overlooked, but it can be a fatal disease if left undiagnosed. Because few doctors check for issues with these glands, it’s important to ask a doctor for a referral to a specialist. That one appointment can save that patient’s life.
Parathyroid Disease and Diagnosis
The parathyroid disease occurs in around one in 100 people when they develop a parathyroid gland tumor in one or more of the glands; this is known as hyperparathyroidism. The disease has serious ramifications, including high amounts of cancer in the blood, and can even cause premature death.
Hyperparathyroidism has many symptoms, including kidney stones, high calcium levels, high blood pressure, and frequent headaches. However, it also has other, unique symptoms: fatigue, an inability to concentrate, and depression.
While there are a variety of symptoms, some of which may seem minor, it is important that patients request that their parathyroid glands be checked. This may be the only way to find that there’s a problem with the glands, and since this disease can cause devastation about 20 years after it appears, it’s important to get the glands checked as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, there is only one parathyroid treatment: surgery. There is no other way to treat this disease, and it’s critical that the patient finds a parathyroid surgeon because of the expertise involved in having a successful operation.
Thankfully, the traditional parathyroid operation, which hadn’t changed its process since 1925, has been replaced. Experts in the field now recommend a mini-operation, which can be completed in 20 minutes.
Each mini-operation is preceded by an x-ray scan, which will help the surgeon determine which glands are affected by the tumor. In Los Angeles, it is recommended that patients contact the Surgery Group of LA, which has a parathyroid surgeon listed as a member.
Success and Complication Rates
The current success rate for parathyroid treatment sits between 95 to 100 percent. The success rate depends on the surgeon’s expertise and whether or not the surgeon has checked all four glands for tumors.
There are two complications that are very serious. The first is an injury to the vocal cords, which can leave a patient with a hoarse voice for the rest of their life. The second is the accidental removal of all of the glands, which can lead to permanent hypoparathyroidism and can be just as serious as parathyroid disease.
Parathyroid treatment is possible and can save a patient a lifetime of symptoms and even prevent death. Any patient who believes they may have the parathyroid disease should contact a parathyroid surgeon. Only by taking this step can a patient be sure they are free of this disease.