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UCLA study finds endocrine disorder is most common cause of elevated calcium levels
Date:2/21/2013

esearchers utilized a patient database from Kaiser Permanente Southern California that included information on 3.5 million individuals, a population roughly the size of Ohio. Using data from lab results, the research team identified 15,234 cases of chronic high-calcium levels. Of those cases, 13,327 patients (87 percent) were found to have hyperparathyroidism.

The incidence of hyperparathyroidism reported as the number of cases per 100,000 people per year was found to be highest among African Americans (92 women and 46 men), followed by Caucasians (81 women and 29 men), Asians (52 women, 28 men) and Hispanics (49 women and 17 men).

The research team also found that with advancing age, the incidence of hyperparathyroidism (per 100,000 people per year) increased and that more women were affected:

  • Under age 50: 12 to 24 cases for both genders
  • Ages 50: 80 women and 36 men
  • Ages 70: 196 women and 95 men

"It was surprising to find the highest incidence in black women over age 50," Yeh said. "We had traditionally thought of the disorder as affecting mostly Caucasian women."

However, since black women tend to have stronger bones and fewer fractures, more study is needed to see how the disorder is manifested in this patient group. African American women's physiology may be different and more protective of calcium and bone, Yeh said.

Yeh also noted that further study of the disorder may result in new, more targeted treatment guidelines based on racial differences. African American women, for instance, may require less vitamin D than is commonly prescribed to protect bone health, he said.

In the study, the researchers also found that the prevalence of hyperparathyroidism has tripled in the last 10 years, increasing from 76 women to 233 (out of 100,000) and from 30 men to 85.

The researchers noted that the growing prevalence is likely due to increased calciu
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Contact: Rachel Champeau
rchampeau@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2270
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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