Currently, parathyroid damage cannot always be prevented. The NICHD is dedicated to preventing loss or minimizing injury to the parathyroid glands and to reducing side effects when loss or injury occurs. Studies include identifying a viable synthetic form of parathyroid hormone (PTH) and research on how to deliver the synthetic PTH most effectively. Additional important research is evaluating the efficacy of various nutritional supplements that people with hypoparathyroidism currently use to replace lost calcium and vitamin D.
The NICHD also has a focus on the genetics of hypoparathyroidism, although the illness is rarely inherited. Researchers continue to investigate new treatment options for aiding youngsters born with parathyroid problems, such as thymus transplantation, with and without synthetic hormones.
Ultimately, the NICHD’s various research efforts related to hypoparathyroidism are designed to make treatment easier (especially to enhance youngsters’ independence), to create optimal self-support (thus minimizing doctor/hospital visits), and to duplicate natural parathyroid function. The aim of the research on duplicating natural function is to negate patients’ risks of developing high blood calcium levels and kidney damage. These are the potential side effects of the only current treatment: extensive use of calcium and vitamin D supplements.