A new study reveals that hypoparathyroid patients experience more distress from this disorder than previously realized.
Although relatively rare, hypoparathyroidism carries a disproportionately large burden of comorbidity among the approximately 58,700 people living with insufficient or absent levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH) in the U.S.
In the recent “Understanding the Burden of Illness Associated with Hypoparathyroidism (PARADOX Study),” researchers led by Bart L. Clarke, MD, associate professor Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn., assessed patient self-reports of the symptoms they experience. The 374 study participants were members of the Hypoparathyroidism Association, Inc. who responded to an online questionnaire and who met inclusion criteria. Respondents averaged age 49 years and had lived with their condition for an average of 13 years.
Most were female (85%) and had developed hypoparathyroidism postsurgically (78%).
“What we’re hearing from patients is that, in general, having this condition had a pretty significant impact on their quality of life,” Clarke says. “Basically, there was a lot more symptomatology than we have classically been taught that hypoparathyrodism can cause. In a global sense, that was the biggest surprise to me.”
Symptoms clinicians would expect include what low calcium would cause, such as muscle cramps, tingling, and parasthesias. But what was reported went well beyond these classic symptoms, including what Clarke says his patients refer to as “brain fog,” which impacted their ability to focus, remember, learn and retain information, and hold a job.