Hypoparathyroidism and Exercise

Brian Murphy, Ph.D. avatar

by Brian Murphy, Ph.D. |

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Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle and can offer many benefits. If you have hypoparathyroidism, however, you should be careful because  exercise can affect levels of calcium in your body. Read on for more information about the benefits of exercise, how hypoparathyroidism may affect your ability to exercise, and precautions you should consider.

How hypoparathyroidism affects muscles

Calcium is an important molecule in your body for a number of different functions including muscle contraction. Since the parathyroid hormone (PTH), which plays a role in regulating blood calcium levels, is low in patients with hypoparathyroidism, the disease may affect your muscle function, including the heart muscle. This can lead to symptoms such as fatigue, tingling in your fingers and toes, and cramps. It also can cause irregular heartbeats.

Benefits of exercise

Exercise is important for all people to stay fit and strong. It can help maintain or improve your physical and mental fitness, as well as help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. It can aid with sleeping and increase your energy levels, as long as you don’t overdo it.

Are there precautions I should take?

Every person is different in terms of their fitness level and the severity of their disease. That’s why it is important to start slow and gradually increase the intensity of your exercise routine over time.

It might help to adjust your diet to increase the levels of calcium in your blood. Eating a calcium-rich snack about an hour before you start exercising and after your exercise routine may help. You also can talk to your doctor about potentially increasing your dietary supplementation of calcium and activated vitamin D.

Putting together a routine

You can work with your team of healthcare professionals to establish a plan based on your abilities and current health and fitness levels. Your physician can help monitor your plan. He or she may request more frequent blood tests to monitor what effect exercise is having on your body.

Choosing the type of exercise

Research has shown that PTH levels tend to increase following either high-intensity exercise over a long period (greater than 50 minutes) or low-intensity exercise over a very long period (around five hours). The data suggested that short-duration exercise at high levels of exertion, or low-intensity exercise over a moderate time period (50 minutes), did not appear to affect PTH levels.

This research was conducted in people not affected by hypoparathyroidism, however, and there is no direct evidence suggesting that those levels of intensity and duration may be appropriate for patients with hypoparathyroidism. Always consult with your clinical care team before deciding on an exercise plan.

 

Last updated: Jan. 8, 2021

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Hypoparathyroidism News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.