Hyperparathyroidism: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Hyperparathyroidism means that your parathyroid glands are too active. These are tiny glands in the neck. They sit behind the thyroid gland. They make a hormone that helps control how much calcium is in the blood. When these glands make too much hormone, the amount of calcium in the blood goes up.

Most people with this problem have no symptoms. But it can cause constipation, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and depression. It also can lead to high blood pressure, ulcers, kidney stones, and weak bones.

This problem often is caused by a tumor on the parathyroid glands. The tumor usually is not cancer. You may need surgery to take out one or more of the glands.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think you are having a problem with your medicine. You will get more details on the specific medicines your doctor prescribes.
  • You will need to see your doctor regularly to check your condition. You also will have tests to check the level of calcium in your blood and to make sure your kidneys are working well.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Choose water and other clear liquids. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
  • Get at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Walking is a good choice. You also may want to do other activities, such as running, swimming, cycling, or playing tennis or team sports.
  • If you are taking any diuretic medicines or calcium supplements, talk to your doctor about whether you should keep taking them.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You are confused or have trouble thinking.
  • Your vomiting and nausea do not go away with treatment.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You get weaker and more tired even after treatment.
  • You feel depressed or have aches and pains.
  • You are constipated.
  • You have increased thirst and urination.
  • You do not feel hungry.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.