AAKP HealthLine Webinar Summary: Are you at risk for secondary hyperparathyroidism? Learn the importance of early detection.

Written by Melinda Starling, AAKP Communications Intern


Kevin Martin, MD, led an AAKP Healthline Webinar on November 28, 2018, discussing Secondary Hyperparathyroidism (SHPT) and measures that can be taken to treat and control it. Melissa Tuff, dialysis patient, shared her experience with this condition and the steps she took before eventually having surgery to remove the majority of her parathyroid glands.


SHPT is overactivity of the parathyroid glands. This is often a complication of chronic kidney disease and occurs when the parathyroid glands work extra hard and secrete more parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH is needed to help keep normal levels of calcium in the blood and to excrete phosphorus from the kidneys. Dr. Martin proposes a few methods of managing SHPT, which vary depending on stage of kidney disease, but include:

  • Dietary restrictions
  • Calcium supplements
  • Phosphate binders
  • Vitamin D Sterols
  • Calcimimetic drugs that reduce PTH and serum calcium

The removal of the parathyroid glands, called parathyroidectomy, is recommended for patients who do not respond well to the above measures. Melissa was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease in July of 1996. Soon after, she began dialysis. Her PTH levels were consistently high and she explains that her body had been producing so much of the hormone for so long that medication had no effect. After undergoing a parathyroidectomy, Melissa had a quick recovery, and wishes that she would have undergone the procedure sooner.


SHPT is easier to treat and control in the early stages. It is important to know what your levels are and adhere to your doctor’s advice. Dietitians are also an essential part of keeping PTH levels constant.


The full webinar is available for you to listen to at www.aakp.org/aakp-healthline under the “Past Webinar” button.


This webinar is supported by an educational donation by OPKO Renal.