Garry Shandling's Death Raises Awareness About Parathyroid Disease

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His doctor explained that, “A parathyroid disorder was about as damaging as smoking a pack of cigarettes per day. It weakened the bones; it raised the risk of heart attacks and some cancers, and kidney stones too; it caused mood disorders; and—I’ll confess the most alarming—it led to memory lapses, attention failures, and dementia. The bone-weakening is because the hyperactive gland continually draws calcium out of the bones and into the blood serum.”

I also heard from Barbara Creamer, one of the founders of a patient-advocacy group called Parathyroid Peeps:

We are 3 San Francisco Bay Area women who suffered from primary hyperparathyroid disease. We all had our surgeries performed at the Norman Parathyroid Center in Tampa, Florida - one of us in 2011 another in 2013 and the third most recently in 2014 to remove parathyroid tumors. The surgeries all took less than 21 minutes. You can read our stories here.  We didn't know one another prior to meeting in an on-line support group...

There were number of problems we personally experienced that contributed to a delay in diagnosis and surgical treatment. Though cured ourselves, we felt compelled to educate others about the disease to move the larger conversation forward to create change. Thus our education and advocacy group Parathyroid Peeps came into being. You can read about our mission here….

In spite of the seriousness of the disease, it’s cure rate according to Dr. Norman is 99%. But the challenge is detecting it first. Now there’s an app for that.