Hypoparathyroidism can have a negative effect on many aspects of a patient’s daily life — but you can help support a family member who is living with the disease.
Your support may help to reduce stress and ease the symptoms of this rare hormone disorder.
What is hypoparathyroidism?
The condition results from the body producing too little parathyroid hormone (PTH). Four small glands in the neck called the parathyroid glands normally produce PTH.
Hypoparathyroidism can have several different causes, such as an autoimmune response in which the patient’s body mistakenly attacks its own cells in the parathyroid glands, or genetic mutations that lead to a lack of PTH production. The most common cause, however, is damage to the parathyroid glands from treatments such as neck surgery or chemotherapy.
Low levels of calcium in the blood are the most common result of hypoparathyroidism and can cause a number of different symptoms, including fatigue, cramps, and neuropathy, which is an uncomfortable burning or tingling sensation that often occurs in the hands and feet.
How can I help a family member with hypoparathyroidism?
Hypoparathyroidism often affects a number of different areas of a patient’s life. Having your help can reduce some of the stress that comes with living with the disorder and may ensure that your family member has a better quality of life.
Help patients stick to a calcium-rich diet
People with hypoparathyroidism have to make sure that they maintain adequate levels of calcium in their blood. For this, they usually need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements. Additional calcium also can be obtained through the patient’s diet.
Ensuring that your family member takes his or her supplements regularly can help your relative on track. You also can encourage your family member to eat calcium-rich foods, such as vegetables, seafood, and dairy products, and assist with shopping or meal preparation.
Assist with everyday tasks
One symptom sometimes experienced by hypoparathyroidism patients is brain fog, which can make it difficult for a person to concentrate and remember things. If your family member experiences brain fog, you can help him or her creating lists, setting reminding for appointments, or assisting with complicated tasks.
Fatigue and muscle pain are common symptoms of hypoparathyroidism, and can make it more difficult for patients to perform daily activities. Any assistance you are able to provide with tasks around the house or errands could help your family member avoid overdoing it.
Offer emotional support
Living with a chronic disease can be stressful and overwhelming. In more severe cases, it can even lead to depression. Be sure to provide your family member with emotional support and look out for warning signs of depression. You also can encourage your relative to spend more time with you and other family members and friends so he or she doesn’t become isolated.
Support groups also can be a great resource and can help your family member find other people with the disorder who can provide tips and encouragement.
Help with medical care
In addition to some of the more common symptoms like muscle aches, fatigue, and neuropathy, people with hypoparathyroidism may experience heart problems or even seizures. If this is the case for your family member, you can help him or her remember to take all needed medications and to keep medical information organized. Assisting your relative in taking notes and asking questions at doctor’s appointments also can help.
Last updated: Jan. 15, 2021
Lambert-Eaton 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.
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