Friends, do you feel tired all the time, and is your body stiff and achy? Do parts of you sometimes get numb? Are you lethargic? Do you get lots of headaches, and have trouble sleeping? Do you find yourself forgetting things, and is it hard to concentrate? Have you noticed that life doesn’t seem such fun any more, and that you don’t look forward to doing things you usually enjoy? Do you feel anxious, or even paranoid, a lot of the time? Do the people closest to you say you’ve got a lot more grumpy and irritable lately? Have you started suffering from indigestion, when you never used to? Do you sometimes find it difficult to talk, because your tongue won’t form the syllables properly? Has your gag reflex got more sensitive? Have you got a persistent cough? Does your voice get so hoarse that you can’t sing the Tom Petty songs you’ve rehearsed with your band in San Antonio TX? (Oh, perhaps that’s just me.) Is your hair getting thinner on top? (Sorry, chaps – that one’s only for women.)
Then go along and ask your GP to test your calcium levels.
Here’s the science bit. We all have four parathyroid glands – they sit on the thyroid gland in our necks, and their job is to regulate the amount of calcium in our bodies through the production of parathyroid hormone (PTH). Normally they’re each the size of a grain of rice – but occasionally one will become tumorous, and go rogue. Far too much PTH is then produced, so that the other three glands shut down, and your calcium levels go haywire. Your body starts to leach calcium from your bones, in order to remedy what it thinks is a calcium deficiency. Not everyone who gets this has ALL the symptoms above; what they all do have is osteoporosis, but they won’t know they have, until they fall over and break something important. Even if they’re lucky and don’t fall over, they’re at risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and kidney disease. The condition just wears your body down. It shortens your life.
What’s it called? Hyperparathyroidism
What’s the treatment? Surgical removal of the affected gland.
Is it a serious operation? Nope. Takes about 15 minutes and you can go home the same day.
Does it work? Yes, and you start feeling better almost straight away. The dormant glands wake up and start working properly.
I had the operation yesterday, and though I have a headache and my throat is very swollen, I already feel much better. In fact I have No Reason To Cry. And I’m eating lots of ice cream.