If you know your cholesterol numbers and your blood pressure levels, that’s good. But if you don’t know your calcium level, you may want to ask your doctor. High calcium could cause major problems and you’d never know.
Kristie Rowe thrives on visiting her family. But the last couple of years, she's struggled.
“One day I’d be fine with energy, and the next day I’d be totally spent,” Kristie explained.
Besides energy, she started losing her hair. Kristie knew she had high calcium levels, but she didn’t know that meant trouble for her body.
"It got to the point when I asked my physician, so when do I need to have this addressed. And his answer was, you’re there,” she said.
Doctors discovered a tumor on one of Kristie’s four parathyroid glands.
“High calcium levels are more deadly and cause more health problems than high cholesterol," said Dr. Jim Norman with the Norman Parathyroid Center. "So everybody really should know what their calcium level is.”
Also known as hyperparathyroidism, the hormone the tumor produces makes people feel tired as well as causing osteoporosis, high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, kidney stones and kidney failure.
“A little over 75% are women. And interestingly, it’s women in the ages around menopause, so it’s primarily between the ages of 45 and 60 is when most women get this," said Dr. Norman.
The good news is after a 20-minute procedure, the tumor was gone.
“Came in for surgery that morning and by 11 a.m., I was on the road heading home,” smiled Rowe.
“Sometimes within a day or two, sometimes a week or two, but life changes dramatically,” stated Dr. Norman.
While Rowe’s tumor was the size of a golf ball, she only has a faint scar.
“The next day that I started realizing some bone issues that I kind of chalked up to old age, I wasn’t having any more. So it really was such a pleasant relief,” Rowe said.
“There are no stitches to take out. They peel off the Band-Aid and they go out about their life expecting great things to happen,” Dr. Norman said.
Dr. Norman advises you should always get a copy of your blood test and look at your calcium levels. If they’re above 10, it’s almost always a problem. Dr. Norman and his team have performed more than 40,000 parathyroid operations.