While vitamin D deficiency is a common condition, a low level of vitamin D is not necessarily indicative of parathyroid disease or hyperparathyroidism. There may be other causes.
Vitamin D comes naturally from two sources. It is produced naturally in your body by exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. You also get vitamin D from the food and supplements in your diet.
Vitamin D is necessary for the proper formation of your skeleton. It is important for bone growth and renewal as it helps your body absorb and retain phosphorus and calcium. Vitamin D is also necessary for nerve and muscle activity.
Vitamin D deficiency or low levels of vitamin D can lead to a variety of health problems. Low vitamin D levels can cause bones to mineralize improperly. In children, this can lead to rickets, which is characterized by bowed legs, swollen joints, and malformed skeletons. In adults, vitamin D deficiency leads to osteomalacia, which is the softening of the bones due to elementary bone mineralization. Decreased calcium absorption may also result in osteoporosis.
Primary hyperparthyroidism is most commonly caused by one or more of the parathyroid glands forming a tumor that secretes excess parathyroid hormone (PTH). Normally, PTH regulates the calcium that is taken from your bones and put into your bloodstream. The excessive PTH due to primary hyperparathyroidism leads to increased blood calcium levels.
The body tries to correct the elevated calcium levels by secluding calcium in the urine. The higher calcium concentration in the urine from hyperparathyroidism creates an environment more favorable to the formation of kidney stones. If you have kidney stones and an elevated blood calcium level, you should be checked for primary hyperparathyroidism.
Vitamin D facilitates the intestinal absorption of calcium. With lower levels of vitamin D, dietary calcium is not easily absorbed, making your high calcium problem even worse.
Low Vitamin D levels in patients with a high calcium and a high parathyroid hormone level occurs as a protective mechanism for the body. Because the blood serum does not require any additional calcium the production and conversion of vitamin D is down-regulated as a protective mechanism for the body. This is why over 60% of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism have a lower than normal vitamin D level. In this case the parathyroid tumor actually causes the reduction of vitamin D in your body.
It is generally accepted in the medical profession that persons diagnosed with primary hyperparathyroidism require surgery. Today, minimally invasive parathyroid surgery is an option. Preoperative imaging and localization of the abnormal parathyroid tumor enables a minimally invasive or “mini-incision” approach. This is an outpatient procedure that requires an incision of only a one-inch or less, and the procedure can be performed in less than half an hour.