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Episode Info:

In this episode, I am going to be looking at a condition called primary hyperparathyroidism, over activity of the parathyroid gland causing an elevated PTH level in the blood, leading to higher than normal levels of calcium in the blood and potentially the urine leading to kidney stones.

The effect of parathyroid hormone in the bloodstream is to raise blood calcium levels by 1. causing bone to release calcium into the blood, 2. stimulating your intestines to absorb calcium from food, and 3. telling your kidneys hold on to calcium and return it to your blood instead of flushing it out in urine.

In primary hyperparathyroidism one of the parathyroid glands becomes enlarged and overactive leading to an increased amount of parathyroid hormone circulating in the blood. The high parathyroid hormone leads to high absorption of calcium from the gut and bone, leading to a high serum calcium concentration (hypercalcemia), and a subsequent high urine calcium (hypercalciuria) excretion leading potentially to kidney stones.

In the United States, about 100,000 people develop primary hyperparathyroidism each year. Women are affected 3 to 4 times more often than men.

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