Malfunctioning glands linked to kidney stones

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 24, 2013 06:10 hrs

Washington, Feb 24 (IANS) Excessive calcium levels, linked to formation of kidney stones, can be traced to the over activity of parathyroid glands (hyperparathyroidism), affecting women and the elderly, suggests a new study.

Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles, (UCLA) determined that hyperparathyroidism is the leading cause of high blood-calcium levels and is responsible for nearly 90 percent of all cases.

Calcium loss from bones often leads to osteoporosis and fractures, and excessive calcium levels in the blood can cause kidney stones and worsening kidney function, researchers from the UCLA said, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism reports.

The four parathyroid glands, located in the neck, next to the thyroid, regulate the body's calcium levels. When one is dysfunctional, it can cause major imbalances -- for example, by releasing calcium from the bones and into the bloodstream, according to an UCLA statement.

"The findings suggest that hyperparathyroidism is the predominant cause of high calcium levels, so if patients find they have high calcium, they should also have their parathyroid hormone level checked," said Michael W. Yeh, associate professor of surgery and endocrinology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA, who led the study.

Researchers utilized a patient database from Kaiser Permanente Southern California that included information on 3.5 million individuals.

Using data from lab results, researchers identified 15,234 cases of chronic high-calcium levels. Of those cases, 13,327 patients (87 percent) were found to have hyperparathyroidism.

The incidence of hyperparathyroidism -- reported as the number of cases per 100,000 people per year -- was found to be highest among African Americans, followed by Caucasians, Asians and Hispanics.

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