Definition

What is Osteitis fibrosa cystica?

Osteitis fibrosa cystica is serious a medical condition that results from hyperparathyroidism.

If you have hyperparathyroidism, it means at least one of your parathyroid glands is making too much parathyroid hormone (PTH). The hormone is essential for bone health, but too much can weaken your bones and cause them to become deformed.

How common is Osteitis fibrosa cystica?

Osteitis fibrosa cystica is a rare complication of hyperparathyroidism, affecting less than 5 percent of people with the hormone disorder. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Osteitis fibrosa cystica?

The most serious symptom of osteitis fibrosa cystica is an actual bone fracture. But before that happens, you may notice bone pain and tenderness, as well as these symptoms:

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you or your loved one has any signs or symptoms listed above or you have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Causes

What causes Osteitis fibrosa cystica?

You have four tiny parathyroid glands in your neck. They produce PTH, which helps maintain healthy levels of calcium and phosphorous in your bloodstream and in tissue throughout your body. When calcium levels get too high, the parathyroid glands make less PTH. If calcium levels drop, the glands increase their PTH production.

Bones can respond to PTH differently. In some cases, PTH isn’t enough to overcome low calcium levels. Some bones may have weak areas with little or no calcium.

There appear to be two main causes of osteitis fibrosa cystica: primary hyperparathyroidism and secondary hyperparathyroidism.

  • With primary hyperparathyroidism, there is a problem with the parathyroid glands. A cancerous or noncancerous growth on one of these glands may cause it to function abnormally. Other causes of primary hyperparathyroidism include hyperplasia or the enlargement of two more glands.
  • Secondary hyperparathyroidism occurs when you have some other health condition that reduces your calcium levels. As a result, the parathyroid glands work harder to try to boost your calcium. Two of the main triggers of low calcium are vitamin D deficiency and dietary calcium deficiency.

Vitamin D helps balance your calcium levels. If you don’t get enough vitamin D in your diet or you don’t get enough sun exposure (your body converts sunlight into vitamin D), your calcium levels can drop dramatically. Likewise, if you’re not eating enough food sources of calcium (spinach, dairy, soybeans, among others), low calcium levels could trigger an overproduction of PTH.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for Osteitis fibrosa cystica?

Please consult with your doctor for further information.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is Osteitis fibrosa cystica diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects an imbalance of minerals, they’ll typically order a blood test. Your doctor can check for levels of calcium, phosphorous, PTH, and alkaline phosphatase, a bone chemical and a marker of bone health.

An X-ray can reveal bone fractures or areas of bone thinning. These images can also show if bones are bowing or becoming otherwise deformed. If you have hyperparathyroidism, you’re at greater risk of osteoporosis, a condition in which bones become more brittle. It’s usually related to hormonal changes brought on by menopause and aging.

How is Osteitis fibrosa cystica treated?

If your osteitis fibrosa cystica is the result of an abnormal parathyroid gland, your best treatment option may be to have it surgically removed. This can often be done safely and effectively. The other parathyroid glands may be able to produce sufficient levels of PTH to compensate for the loss of one gland.

If surgery isn’t an option or you don’t want to have the gland removed, medications may be enough to treat your condition. Calcimimetics are drugs that mimic calcium in the blood. They help “trick” the parathyroid gland into producing less PTH. Bisphosphonates are also prescribed to people experiencing bone mass loss, but they are only meant for short-term use.

Hormone replacement therapy may also help the bones retain more calcium in women who are going through or have recently gone through menopause.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage Osteitis fibrosa cystica?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with Osteitis fibrosa cystica:

  • Taking medications to improve bone strength
  • Doing weight-bearing exercises
  • Bosting your calcium and vitamin D intake

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: March 9, 2018 | Last Modified: March 9, 2018

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