The Dangers of Hyperparathyroidism – Have Your Bones Scanned
From the age of about 30, we all experience a gradual loss of bone density. By the age of 80, the average male will have lost about 18 percent of his peak bone mass, while the average woman will have lost a whopping 53 percent. The rate of bone loss is controlled by four factors: heredity, hormone activity, nutrition and physical activity.
Control of Bone Density
At any given time, bone mineral content is a balance between the rate of bone cell manufacture from cells called osteoblasts and the rate of bone destruction, which takes place in another type of cell called an osteoclast. The parathyroid glands play a key role in regulating bone mineral density (BMD). These are four tiny glands situated alongside the thyroid gland. Normally, they are each about the size of a grain of rice.
Sometimes the parathyroid glands hypertrophy; they grow too large and produce too much parathyroid hormone, which favors a reduction in BMD. This is hyperparathyroidism and is diagnosed by increased levels of calcium circulating in the blood stream.
When this happens, calcium is reabsorbed from the bones and the rate of bone loss speeds up, leading to a condition called osteoporosis. Individuals with osteoporosis are at a higher risk of breaking a bone than people with properly functioning parathyroid glands. Osteoporosis can also cause bone disfigurement, particularly in the spinal column. Many premature deaths occur as the result of bone fractures in this vulnerable population.
Specialists in internal medicine at Palm Beach Medical Center are skilled in helping people retain health, mobility and independence. If you come in for a bone scan, we can check your BMD and help you prevent bone loss. This simple, noninvasive procedures takes only ten minutes. Make no bones about it, you’ll be glad you did.