Looking After Your Heart When You Have Hypoparathyroidism

Brian Murphy, Ph.D. avatar

by Brian Murphy, Ph.D. |

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If you have hypoparathyroidism, you may have a high risk of developing heart problems such as arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat. There are some steps you can take to lower that risk.

Here are tips to help you keep your heart as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

Adhere to your treatment

Heart issues in hypoparathyroidism are primarily caused by low calcium levels in the body. The parathyroid hormone (PTH) regulates blood calcium levels. Since your body does not produce sufficient amounts of PTH, your calcium levels also may be low. Calcium is important for heart cells to be able to contract, which produces the heart’s pumping function. When the levels are low, it can create problems with the synchronized firing of the heart cells, leading to arrhythmia.

To help increase your calcium levels, it is important to follow your treatment plan of calcium supplements and activated vitamin D. Maintaining sufficient blood calcium levels can help keep your heart healthier and working correctly. Your doctor also may prescribe PTH replacement therapy, which can help increase your calcium levels.

Eat a heart-healthy diet

Your diet also can play a key role in the health of your heart. You can increase your calcium intake by eating foods high in calcium, such as almonds, kale, and sardines. Dairy also is high in calcium, but do note that too much of it can be hard on your kidneys.

It’s also important to limit caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drinks, as these may lower your calcium levels if you consume too much of them. Foods like rhubarb, tomatoes, spinach, and wholemeal bread also can lower calcium levels and thus should be limited.

Diet, overall, is important for the general health of your heart. Eating a variety of fresh, minimally processed foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains also can improve your heart health. Meal items such as processed foods may contain high amounts of added fats and sugars, which can be bad for your blood vessels and the heart. Thus, you should cut back on those. You also should limit the amount of red meat and salt you consume.

Stay physically active

Being active is important for keeping your heart healthy. A walk or moderate exercise can help reduce stress, manage your body weight, and help increase your metabolism.

Depending on your calcium levels, you may have to start slowly with an exercise program and gradually build up over time. Since your muscles also use calcium to contract, you have to be careful not to overdo it as your calcium levels may drop and you might feel tingling, cramping, and fatigue.

It may help to eat a starchy, low-fat meal two to three hours before exercise and have a calcium-rich snack prior to any workout to help maintain your calcium levels during exercise.

Stop smoking

Smoking is a major cause of cardiovascular disease and stopping would improve your heart health.

Many heart problems can develop due to smoking, including atherosclerosis or hardening of the blood vessels, coronary heart disease — in which the blood vessels that go to the heart become narrower — and stroke, which occurs when a blood clot or blood vessel bursts in the brain. People who smoke also may have peripheral artery disease, in which blood vessels become narrowed and not able to supply as much blood to the limbs as before, and aortic aneurysm, or a bulge in the major blood vessel coming from the heart, which could burst.

It’s also important to avoid second-hand smoke as much as possible, since it also can lead to cardiovascular problems.


Last updated: Dec. 18, 2020


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.