Mildly Elevated Blood Calcium (10.3) and Higher End PTH (60) 47y/o F

Posted by smichaels @smichaels, Wed, Aug 28 2:26pm

My Dr. called to tell me that my Calcium was up… I have read about the fluctuations in these two values, but this is the first time that I have seen the Calcium this high (in the past, it has been between 9.1 and 9.7). I am unaware of a previous PTH test. Should I be concerned about these numbers? I was taking no regular supplements prior to this test. The Calcium at the time of the PTH was recorded as 9.9, down from 10.3 two weeks prior.

My Calcium level was 12.5 and was an indicator of hypercalcemia which can be caused by a number of other things. My hypercalcemia was caused by hyperparathyroidism due to a benign growth on my lower right parathyroid. In my situation, the elevated calcium contributed cognitive problems due to excessive calcium in my brain over a prolonged period of time. I assume that your doctor wants to monitor it for now. If you end up with a situation like mine….make sure that they check that calcium levels have dropped before stitching you up. A friend had the same procedure at a different state and hospital, but the surgeon did not check that the levels during the operations and she had to have procedure again. Also my PtH level was 136 pg/mL and I am 57y/o F.

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I found a website that was very informative, but the forum will not allow me to post the link. It states that how high your calcium is (10.5 vs. 12), is not as critical as how long it has been that way. According to them, after age 35 your Calcium should be in the 9's because as you age, you are no longer forming bone. I have also been taking a BP medicine that includes a diuretic, which could have caused the increase, but I will continue to ask questions and get regular labs done. The stats are approx. 1 in 50 women that get it, so it looks like the odds are greater that you will get it, rather than not. My older brother died of osteoporosis in his mid 50's after having broken both hips. Just makes you wonder how easy it would have been to prevent something like that. Good luck to you…

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I am interested in this because I recently had a bone density test and for the first time it is in the minus range, at -.9 which is considered osteopenia and not serious, but my doctor recommended taking more calcium, taking Fosamax, and doing weight bearing exercises which are difficult for me with two bad shoulders the surgeons would like to replace. I have always loved milk and continue to drink it, am rejecting the Fosamax for now, taking two calcium pills, and hoping to get outside more for the sun. My calcium was tested at 9.1, down from 9.4 six months ago. I would like a higher dose of Synthroid but my endocrinologist refuses, and is no longer treating me because she says my numbers are perfect after thyroid removal a number of years ago due to cancer. My neighbor says her osteopenia improved after working on it and she no longer has low numbers. I gave up yogurt because it interferes with Synthroid in the morning but am going back to it, without sugar of course. I fell and fractured my bad shoulder in May. That's my story for sharing. I will be 84 next week and am not using my rocking chair yet. Dorisena

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My sympathies, I know your pain must be terrible. My mother is also facing a possible shoulder surgery at 77, and she is not excited at all.

I found a doctor who would prescribe desiccated porcine (pig) thyroid. I use the Armour brand, but there are others. For some, Synthroid is not well absorbed or just doesn't work as well.

Like you, my calcium had been steady for many years around 9.1-9.2. I had a reading of 9.7 in 2014, and this July it was 10.3. My parathyroid hormone was also at the high end of normal, but these two values should not both be high. If calcium is higher, then the PTH should be lower. As we age, our blood calcium should go down, but that can be affected by Vit D, calcium intake (supplements), and the use of thiazide diuretics (either in blood pressure medicines or for other reasons). I have had a longstanding issue with a sensation of something in the left side of my throat, hair loss, general run down feeling, and some anxiety issues, and memory loss, but doctors usually dismiss it. I have decided to be a little more aggressive, and ask for some further testing, and possibly to get off of the diuretic. It probably would not hurt for you to have another calcium test and PTH (should be done at the same time). Dr. Norman in Tampa, FL has a wonderful website that is full of information, I recommend it highly. (ParathyroidDotCom) Best of luck to you!

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Thanks for the info. I just had a calcium blood test and it is o.k. The bone density test was below normal and that is my current concern. I gave up the bladder medicine except for occasionally because I learned it was causing constipation which I had to resolve after spine surgery. My back pain and constipation went away when I stopped the pills. Life is much better now, and it is nice that I have four bathrooms in my huge home. I take calcium and vitamin D pills and eat a high protein, low carb diet for my diabetes control. I do not exercise enough. My hair is better due to taking biotin and not doing any permanents. I can deal with the other old age issues and am doing better than most of my friends mentally. I do two Sudoku puzzles every day. Dorisena

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I understand, regarding your concern about the bone density scan. I assume some bone loss is normal as we age, and as long as your calcium levels are in the 9 range, it sounds better. Continued (significant) bone density reduction and/or high calcium is definitely worth paying attention to though, and can be attributed to disease of the parathyroid glands. I must not have the attention span for Sudoku… I do like to read and walk (not at the same time). 🙂

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@darlajean

My Calcium level was 12.5 and was an indicator of hypercalcemia which can be caused by a number of other things. My hypercalcemia was caused by hyperparathyroidism due to a benign growth on my lower right parathyroid. In my situation, the elevated calcium contributed cognitive problems due to excessive calcium in my brain over a prolonged period of time. I assume that your doctor wants to monitor it for now. If you end up with a situation like mine….make sure that they check that calcium levels have dropped before stitching you up. A friend had the same procedure at a different state and hospital, but the surgeon did not check that the levels during the operations and she had to have procedure again. Also my PtH level was 136 pg/mL and I am 57y/o F.

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I was a little concerned about the 10.3 Calcium, but the PTH of 60 didn't sound too horrible. Although when reading some of Dr. Norman's information, it says that if one is high, then the other should be low. So, if the Calcium was at the maximum, then I would have expected the PTH to be lower, instead of at the high end range… Will be stopping my BP meds with HCTZ and then asking for a retest.

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I have learned nothing about the parathyroid glands, so I think I need to study. Sudoku puzzles are about logic and I like that because it is practical thinking. I do not like to guess, so sometimes I am stuck so I cheat and look up the correct number. it gets me going to the finish and then I think I don't have Alzheimer's today. I can't walk far because of my spine surgery, but most people think I am perfectly normal. The knee replacement surgeries were not perfect, either. I compensate my thinking by being happy that I don't have to go to work every day, so I feel privileged. I walk too slowly for anyone to want to walk with me so I lack companionship. Aren't computers wonderful. I am tempted at times to let everything go and allow the old body to die, but then perhaps I might suffer some in the end. My first grade teacher, an old maid, was hit by a truck crossing the street at 92 and died shortly thereafter. She saw my mother in the store shortly before that, and asked how I was, by name. I was impressed with her record of longevity. Dorisena

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