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Conditions We Treat: Metabolic Bone, Calcium and Parathyroid Disorders

The parathyroid glands, small endocrine glands located in the neck, produce the parathyroid hormone and regulate calcium and phosphorous in the blood, blood clotting and neuromuscular excitation (causing a muscle to contract).

Metabolic bone diseases are disorders of bone strength usually caused by abnormalities of minerals (such as calcium or phosphorus), vitamin D, bone mass or bone structure, with osteoporosis being the most common. When untreated, osteoporosis can lead to fragility fractures, bone deformities and serious disability.

Metabolic Bone, Calcium and Parathyroid Disorders: What You Need to Know

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  • Men and women of all ages can suffer from skeletal disorders. The most common include osteoporosis, osteomalacia, Paget’s disease and parathyroid disorders.
  • Those at high risk for osteoporosis include older individuals, as well as those with small body size, history of fractures, steroid use, intestinal diseases, organ transplants and kidney disorders.
  • Parathyroid gland hypersecretion may lead to brittle bones that fracture easily and stones in the urinary system.
  • Parathyroid gland hyposecretion may lead to muscle tetany (involuntary muscle contraction), which is caused by low levels of calcium in plasma.
  • Current screening recommendations indicate that women over age 65, men over age 70 and anyone age 50 or older who has had a fracture should undergo a DXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) bone density scan. It also is recommended for individuals with conditions that predispose them to bone loss such as hormonal prostate or breast cancer treatments, parathyroid or thyroid disorders, certain medications such as steroids, those with significant height loss, transplant patients and women who underwent menopause before age 45.

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Why choose Johns Hopkins for treatment of metabolic bone, calcium and parathyroid disorders?

Our doctors understand metabolic bone disorders, and they have years of clinical expertise in endocrinology, metabolic bone disorders, osteoporosis, vitamin D deficiency, and calcium and phosphorus disorders. They have published numerous articles and textbook chapters based on their research in metabolic bone disorders and enjoy working with patients to individually tailor effective diet, lifestyle and treatment regimens to improve skeletal health.

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