Hyperparathyroidism (HPT) that goes undiagnosed and untreated can contribute to cardiovascular disease, aka heart disease. Comparatively, HPT that is addressed in its early stages may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease or reverse its effects.
What Is the Link Between Hyperparathyroidism and Cardiovascular Disease?
Elevated parathyroid hormone (PTH) and calcium levels can contribute to HPT. Additionally, clinical research suggests that above-average PTH and calcium levels in HPT patients can cause cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heart rhythm) and other cardiac abnormalities. HPT patients may be increasingly susceptible to heart failure caused by excess PTH in the body or a vitamin D deficiency.
Can Patients Experience Primary Hyperparathyroidism and Heart Disease at the Same Time?
In one study, researchers found that patients who experience primary HPT (PHPT) and cardiovascular disease face a higher risk of death than others. PHPT can alter the body’s PTH and calcium levels, which can cause fatigue, forgetfulness, and other symptoms that can affect patients’ overall health. At the same time, PHPT can increase the risk of hypercalcemia, which can weaken the bones, cause kidney stones, and disrupt the heart and brain function.
Hypertension has been discovered in patients coping with PHPT as well. PHPT patients who experience systolic blood pressure of 140 mmHg or greater and/or diastolic blood pressure of 90 mmHg or greater may be diagnosed with hypertension. Yet, there may be times when hypertension persists even after patients undergo treatment for PHPT.
Can Secondary Hyperparathyroidism and Cardiovascular Disease Occur Simultaneously?
Research has linked chronic kidney disease (CKD) to secondary HPT (SHPT), which can occur due to changes in a patient’s calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D levels. SHPT can develop in the initial stages of CKD, and the symptoms associated with it can become more severe as the kidneys deteriorate.
Treatment of CKD is often delayed, as it can be difficult to correctly diagnose the condition until its symptoms have been present for an extended period of time. But, the longer CKD symptoms linger, the more likely it becomes that they can lead to serious SHPT symptoms.
How Are Hyperparathyroidism and Heart Disease Diagnosed?
Blood tests are used to evaluate the relationship between PTH and calcium in the body. If PTH or calcium levels are too high or too low, a 24-hour urine collection may be performed; the collection is used to determine if an abnormal amount of calcium, creatine, or other waste products is present.
Along with blood testing and a urine collection, a bone mineral density test can be performed. This test shows how much calcium and other minerals are present in a portion of a patient’s bone. It can also highlight a patient’s susceptibility to osteoporosis and other forms of bone loss associated with HPT.
The aforementioned tests can be used to determine if a patient is coping with HPT. In addition to these tests, various cardiovascular disease assessments can be performed.
An electrocardiogram (ECG), stress test, and cardiac catheterization are among the tests used to determine if an HPT patient is dealing with heart disease. During an ECG, a machine is used to collect electrical signals from a patient’s heart; this helps determine if the patient is dealing with arrhythmias. Meanwhile, a stress test helps examine how a patient’s heart performs under duress. It may require a patient to walk on a treadmill or perform other exercises or use medication that causes the heart rate to increase temporarily. With a cardiac catheterization, a thin tube is inserted into a patient’s groin or arm, and it is used to show if the blood vessels have narrowed or any heart abnormalities
How Are Hyperparathyroidism and Heart Disease Treated?
Parathyroid gland surgery is recommended if an HPT patient experiences severe symptoms that affect their quality of life. The surgery is used to remove one or more defective parathyroid glands and correct HPT symptoms.
Following parathyroid surgery, a 4 gland assessment is performed to determine the effectiveness of treatment. The 4 gland assessment verifies that any malfunctioning parathyroid glands have been safely removed, and the remaining parathyroid glands are performing as intended.
The ideal cardiovascular disease treatment depends on the patient and the severity of their symptoms. To treat heart disease, HPT patients may require one or multiple treatment options.
Lifestyle changes may be recommended to help HPT patients manage their cardiovascular disease symptoms. Maintaining a healthy diet that contains foods rich in polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, getting regular exercise, and avoiding smoking are some of the lifestyle changes that can help HPT patients limit the impact of heart disease symptoms.
If lifestyle changes are ineffective, medication may be recommended to help HPT patients manage heart disease symptoms. Mediation can be prescribed to help HPT patients reduce their low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, increase their blood flow, or manage their heart rhythm.
Surgery can also be performed to correct heart disease symptoms. Common surgeries performed on cardiovascular disease patients include coronary artery bypass grafting or valve repair or replacement surgery.
Want to Treat Hyperparathyroidism and Cardiovascular Disease? Help Is Available
HPT and cardiovascular disease can be long-term health problems, and both must be addressed right away. By meeting with a doctor, a patient can receive the proper testing to determine if their symptoms are associated with HPT, heart disease, or both. Then, the patient can take steps to safely manage their symptoms and prevent them from severely impacting their health.
Dr. Babak Larian of the CENTER for Advanced Parathyroid Surgery in Los Angeles offers free consultations to patients who believe they are coping with HPT. Each consultation allows a patient to meet with Dr. Larian and receive a full evaluation. If Dr. Larian determines a patient is dealing with HPT, he can provide a personalized treatment recommendation to mitigate the condition. Perhaps best of all, Dr. Larian can help patients correct their HPT symptoms before they lead to cardiovascular disease or cause preexisting heart disease symptoms to worsen.
Those who believe they may be dealing with HPT are encouraged to meet with Dr. Larian. To learn more or schedule a phone or video consultation with Dr. Larian, please contact us online or call us today at 310-461-0300.