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Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
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Experience:  Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
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My mother aged 74 is experiencing pain in her shoulder. She

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My mother aged 74 is experiencing pain in her shoulder. She has been told she has high levels of calcium in her blood. Her doctor gave her some pills which has lowered it and x-rayed her saying she doesn't have a cancerous tumour, but may have a benign tumour. I am wondering if she is experiencing the shoulder pain because of something in her parathyroid. The doctor says that surgery is too risky. Are the two symptoms (shoulder pain and high calcium) related, ie problems with her thyroid glands? Your advice would be great appreciated as the doctor seems confused about what she may have and just says to come back for a blood test in a couple of weeks.


Thank you for writing in today. Hyperparathyroidism can cause elevated calcium levels (hypercalcemia). When parathyroid hormone (PTH) is excessively produced, this imbalance causes the body to increase the calcium levels beyond the normal levels. PTH causes hypercalcemia. This hypercalcemia results from calcium being pulled from the bones. This causes bone to become weakened as it loses it's density. Also, a patient can have small microhemorrhages within the bone. This is why most patients with hyperparathyroidism and hypercalcemia complain of bone pain. If not already done, you may want to talk with her provider about having a DEXA scan. A DEXA scan is used to measure bone density. Also, if not already done, you may want to discuss the use of Calcitonin if her calcium continues to require medication to lower. Calcitonin helps to lower blood calcium levels, but it also can help with some of the vertebral related discomfort. I hope this helps. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please let me know. Lisa

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