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Sometimes there is a direct correlation between hyperparathyroidism and weight gain or weight loss. To better understand this correlation, let’s examine the impact of weight on hyperparathyroidism.

Can Weight Gain Contribute to Hyperparathyroidism?

People dealing with hyperparathyroidism often display no visible symptoms. However, hyperparathyroidism has been linked to increased risk of a variety of medical conditions, including:

  • Hypertension: Occurs due to high blood pressure that forces an excess amount of blood to push against artery walls; people dealing with hypertension generally have blood pressure above 130/80.
  • Insulin Resistance: Occurs when cells in the muscles, body fat, and liver resist or ignore hormone insulin signals; when this happens, the body cannot get glucose, its main source of fuel, from these cells and put it into the bloodstream.
  • Dyslipidemia: Occurs when the body’s blood lipid levels are too high or low; lipids provide energy to cells, and people dealing with lipid levels that are higher or lower than normal risk atherosclerosis, a medical condition that makes it difficult for blood to flow throughout the body.

A person who is overweight may be more prone than others to the aforementioned medical conditions. As such, this individual is more susceptible than others to primary hyperthyroidism and its associated symptoms.

In research published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, researchers reviewed 17 studies involving patients with primary hyperparathyroidism who were heavier than other patients in the same age group. In 13 of these studies, patients with primary hyperparathyroidism were 3.34 kg heavier than other patients. In the remaining four studies, patients with primary hyperparathyroidism had an increased body mass index (BMI) compared with other patients. This indicates that patients with primary hyperparathyroidism had an increased weight or BMI in contrast to other patients.

Comparatively, in a study published by Medical Hypotheses, researchers found that body weight was elevated in elderly patients dealing with primary and secondary hyperparathyroidism. They also discovered that insulin resistance was a common complication associated with both forms of hyperparathyroidism.

Can Hyperparathyroidism Cause Weight Loss?

Weight loss is sometimes linked to primary hyperparathyroidism, but it is important to note that weight loss is a symptom of many different medical disorders. Thus, if a person experiences sudden weight loss, he or she should meet with a doctor. At this point, a doctor can perform different tests to determine if the weight loss is related to primary hyperparathyroidism or other medical disorders.  Weight loss can occur in hyperparathyroidism, and it usually denotes an advanced stage of disease.  It is unclear if it is due to gastrointestinal issues (upset stomach & constipation) or the metabolic effects a person may experience due to elevated calcium & PTH, probably both.  Some consider weight loss an indication for surgery.

In some instances, weight loss occurs following parathyroid surgery. Hyperparathyroidism patients sometimes experience chronic fatigue, which makes them less active and more prone to weight gain. Conversely, if a parathyroid tumor is removed, the body is better equipped than ever before to maintain consistent calcium levels. As a result, an individual may feel reenergized following parathyroid surgery, reducing his or her risk of chronic fatigue that leads to weight gain.

Can Calcium Supplementation Reduce the Risk of Hyperparathyroidism?

Calcium supplementation is sometimes used as part of a hyperparathyroidism treatment. In a European Journal of Nutrition study, researchers evaluated primary hyperparathyroidism patients with a daily calcium intake below or above 450 mg. Patients with a daily calcium intake below 450 mg were given calcium supplements, and patients with a daily calcium intake above 450 mg were not. The results of the study showed patients who were given calcium supplements experienced a “significant decrease” in parathyroid hormone after four weeks.

There may be a link between calcium supplementation and weight loss associated with hyperparathyroidism as well. A Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism study was used to evaluate the impact of calcium supplementation on weight and fat loss in women. In the study, researchers used randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials of 1,000 mg/day calcium supplementation in 100 premenopausal and postmenopausal women over the course of 25 weeks. They measured the body weight and fat mass of study participants against baseline values.

Ultimately, researchers in the aforementioned study found no significant differences in body weight or fat mass between the placebo and calcium-supplemented groups of study participants. On the other hand, the researchers noted that additional time may be required to determine if calcium supplementation can have long-term effects on weight and fat loss.

The combination of calcium and vitamin D3 supplementation may facilitate fat loss in overweight individuals with low calcium levels, which could lower the risk of hyperparathyroidism. In a Nutrition Journal study, 53 college students who were either overweight or obese were evaluated. Students were randomly assigned to an open-label, randomized controlled trial in which they received an energy-restricted diet supplemented by calcium and vitamin D3 or exclusively maintained an energy-restricted diet. The study revealed 85% of students who received an energy-restricted diet supplemented by calcium and vitamin D3 experienced a greater decrease in fat mass loss than other students.

What Factors Contribute to a Healthy Weight?

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute points out that the following factors contribute to a person’s weight:

Lifestyle

A sedentary lifestyle may contribute to weight gain.

Environment

A person’s physical and social environment can have far-flung effects on his or her diet. For example, if an individual does not have convenient access to healthy foods or the ability to exercise regularly, he or she may be more susceptible than others to weight gain.

Metabolism

The body’s ability to create and break down energy is generally outside of a person’s control. In some cases, people with a fast metabolism can eat more than others without significant weight gain. Or, in other instances, people with a slow metabolism may be more prone to weight gain, even if they closely monitor and control what they eat.

Genetics

A person’s genes may make him or her more prone than others to weight gain and obesity.

Ways to Maintain a Healthy Weight

If a person can control his or her weight, this individual could minimize the risk of obesity that may be linked to hyperparathyroidism. Fortunately, there are many things that a person can do to maintain a healthy weight, including:

Eat a Healthy Diet

A diet that contains a combination of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins and free of trans and saturated fats ensures a person can get the right mix of nutrients, vitamins and minerals every day.

Stay Physically Active

An exercise regimen helps a person optimize his or her physical and mental health.

Consult with a Doctor

Meeting with a doctor allows an individual to work with a medical professional to determine the best course of action to maintain a healthy weight.

Of course, if a person believes he or she is dealing with hyperparathyroidism, there is no need to wait to undergo localization studies. Thanks to these tests, an individual can take the first step to identify and address his or her hyperparathyroidism symptoms.

How Is Hyperparathyroidism Identified and Treated?

Testing is critical to identify and treat hyperparathyroidism. The goal of all hyperparathyroidism testing is to provide a patient with an accurate diagnosis. Then, if a patient is diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism, this individual and his or her doctor can evaluate treatment options.

Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy (MIP) has been shown to help hyperparathyroidism patients achieve their desired results. But this treatment is not always performed the same way by all surgeons. Therefore, it is crucial to find an expert surgeon who dedicates the time and resources to educate a patient about MIP, how it works and share its benefits. This ensures a patient knows exactly what to expect before he or she undergoes MIP. It also allows a patient to receive responses to any concerns or questions and make an informed decision.

Schedule a Parathyroidectomy Surgery Consultation with Dr. Babak Larian Today

Dr. Larian of the CENTER for Advanced Parathyroid Surgery is committed to patient success. As a distinguished and experienced board-certified head and neck surgeon, Dr. Larian goes above and beyond the call of duty to assist his patients in any way possible. He understands how to diagnose and manage complex tumors and cancers in the neck, and he is happy to teach his patients about all aspects of MIP. Dr. Larian also works diligently to minimize risk throughout MIP and ensure his patients are fully supported at each stage of treatment.

Dr. Larian is available to meet with an individual to discuss parathyroidectomy surgery. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Larian, please contact or call us today at 310-461-0300.

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