The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms and to normalize levels of calcium and phosphorus in your body. A treatment regimen typically includes:
- Oral calcium carbonate tablets. Oral calcium supplements can increase calcium levels in your blood. However, at high doses, calcium supplements can cause gastrointestinal side effects, such as constipation, in some people.
- Vitamin D. High doses of vitamin D, generally in the form of calcitriol, can help your body absorb calcium and eliminate phosphorus.
Some studies have shown benefits of treatment with recombinant human parathyroid hormone (PTH), currently used to treat the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis. However, it's not approved for treatment of hypoparathyroidism.
Your doctor may recommend that you consult a dietitian, who is likely to advise a diet that is:
- Rich in calcium. This includes dairy products, green leafy vegetables, broccoli, kale, and fortified orange juice and breakfast cereals.
- Low in phosphorus-rich items. This means avoiding carbonated soft drinks, which contain phosphorus in the form of phosphoric acid, and limiting eggs and meats.
If you need immediate symptom relief, your doctor may recommend hospitalization to administer calcium by intravenous (IV) infusion. These IV infusions may be important if you're having severe spasms associated with tetany. After hospital discharge, you can continue to take calcium and vitamin D orally.
Your doctor will regularly check your blood to monitor levels of calcium and phosphorus. Initially, these tests will probably be weekly to monthly. Eventually, you'll need blood tests just twice a year.
Because hypoparathyroidism is a long-lasting (chronic) disorder, treatment generally is lifelong, as are regular blood tests to determine whether calcium in particular is at normal levels. Your doctor will adjust your dose of supplemental calcium if your blood-calcium levels rise or fall.
If calcium in your blood remains low despite treatment, your doctor may add a prescription diuretic medication — specifically a thiazide diuretic such as hydrochlorothiazide or metolazone. While some other types of diuretics (loop diuretics) decrease calcium levels in your bloodstream, the thiazides can increase blood-calcium levels.
Most people who are treated for hypoparathyroidism can keep their symptoms under control if they continue to receive treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications of hypoparathyroidism, some of which are permanent.
May 09, 2014
- Hypoparathyroidism. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/hypopara/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed Dec. 23, 2013.
- Hypoparathyroidism. The Hormone Health Network. http://www.hormone.org/search-page?q=hypoparathyroidism. Accessed Dec. 23, 2013.
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- Bilezikian JP, et al. Hypoparathyroidism in the adult: Epidemiology, diagnosis, pathophysiology, target-organ involvement, treatment and challenges for future research. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2011;26:2317.