In addition to affecting a patient’s physical health, parathyroid disease can have far-flung effects on mental wellbeing. The good news is, with proper testing and diagnosis, a patient can treat both the physical and mental health effects of hyperparathyroidism (HPT).
What Mental Health Problems Can HPT Lead To?
HPT occurs when one or more parathyroid glands produce an excess amount of parathyroid hormone (PTH), and the body is unable to manage its calcium level. Over time, calcium in the body will exceed normal levels, affecting the performance of the nervous system. As a result, people can experience a variety of mental health problems, including:
A study published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine highlights a possible link between parathyroid and depression. In the study, researchers examined a 27-year-old woman diagnosed and treated with depression and suicidal ideation.
After her initial depression diagnosis and treatment, researchers found that the woman experienced kidney stones and elevated PTH and calcium levels. She was diagnosed with primary HPT (PHPT), and one of her parathyroid glands was removed to treat the condition.
Following PHPT treatment, the woman’s calcium level was effectively regulated. Researchers indicated the treatment helped the woman reach a baseline calcium level, which may have also helped reduce her depression symptoms.
Meanwhile, a study published in The American Journal of Surgery was used to assess 360 HPT patients over the course of approximately eight years. Among these patients, 10% met the criteria for major depression at the beginning of the study. After these patients underwent a parathyroidectomy to treat HPT, 90% said their depression symptoms no longer impacted their ability to work or perform other daily activities. Additionally, 52% reported improved quality of life after their parathyroidectomy.
Along with depression, parathyroid and anxiety have been evaluated in patients coping with HPT, which is reflected in the results of a study published in JAMA Surgery. Researchers evaluated 194 patients diagnosed with PHPT and 186 control subjects, finding anxiety reported in a higher portion of PHPT patients than control subjects. Approximately 12 months after parathyroidectomy surgery, a significant decrease in anxiety was reported in PHPT patients who previously experienced symptoms of the mood disorder.
Furthermore, research published by the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine indicated anxiety has been found in up to 53% of PHPT patients. The research also linked anxiety to hypercalcemia, a medical condition that causes calcium in the blood to exceed a normal level.
Forgetfulness can sometimes occur in conjunction with HPT, according to an Annals of Surgery review of PHPT studies. The review revealed that PHPT patients in various studies reported forgetfulness as one of their primary symptoms. Some research also suggests that forgetfulness can occur as a result of fatigue caused by PHPT.
How are the Mental Health Effects of Parathyroid Disease Diagnosed and Treated?
A psychiatric evaluation can be used to diagnose and treat the mental health effects of parathyroid disease. The evaluation can include a serum calcium concentration test, along with an analysis of a patient’s phosphorus levels. If abnormal calcium or phosphorus levels are found, a PTH test can be used to measure PTH in the blood.
PTH testing is used to determine if a patient is dealing with a calcium imbalance that contributes to HPT. The testing can also show if a patient is coping with a vitamin D deficiency or other medical conditions that cause physical or mental health issues.
If a patient undergoes PTH testing and receives an HPT diagnosis, localization studies are used to identify the location of a malfunctioning parathyroid gland. Localization studies can be used to find out if one or more abnormal parathyroid glands are present, and the exact location of any malfunctioning parathyroid glands.
Different types of localization studies can be utilized, including ultrasound imaging, sestamibi scans, and single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) imaging. Following localization studies, parathyroid surgery may be recommended to remove any defective parathyroid glands.
How Does Surgery Address the Physical and Mental Health Effects of Parathyroid Disease?
A minimally invasive parathyroidectomy (MIP) is available that allows patients to treat the physical and mental health effects of HPT at the same time. The surgery involves the careful removal of any malfunctioning parathyroid glands and has a lower risk of a large parathyroid surgery scar in comparison to other surgical options. Plus, a MIP has a high cure rate, particularly when it is performed by a parathyroid surgery expert like Dr. Babak Larian of the CENTER for Advanced Parathyroid Surgery.
Dr. Larian is committed to helping his patients achieve the full results of parathyroidectomy surgery. He works closely with a patient to identify the physical and mental health effects of HPT and treat them appropriately.
If Dr. Larian believes a MIP is the best option to address the physical and mental health symptoms of HPT, he tailors a surgery plan to his patient. Dr. Larian then performs the procedure and monitors his patient’s results after the procedure. This ensures a MIP patient can achieve long-term relief from the physical and mental health effects of parathyroid surgery.
Will a Patient Experience Depression After Parathyroid Surgery?
Patients may be concerned about the parathyroid and depression, parathyroid and anxiety, and similar topics associated with parathyroid surgery. Dr. Larian answers questions about these topics and many others, so a patient knows what to expect in the days and weeks following a parathyroidectomy.
Dr. Larian also offers post-surgery instructions to help a patient realize the full benefits of parathyroid surgery. He remains accessible to patients after parathyroidectomy surgery as well. If a patient is worried about depression after parathyroid surgery or has any other post-treatment concerns, let Dr. Larian know, and he can offer assistance.
Schedule a Parathyroid Surgery Consultation with Dr. Larian
Dr. Larian is available to discuss parathyroid surgery. To learn more or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Larian, please contact us online or call us today at 310-461-0300.