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October 16, 2002

Other Illnesses

Question from Enterprise, Alabama, USA:

My friend, who has had diabetes for several years, has neuropathy, has had his right leg amputated, and is on dialysis. Now his doctor informed him that he has a calcium deposit from the feet to the waist, and he has no feeling where this calcification has formed. The doctor suspects that the thyroid is causing this calcium to form and that it will continue moving upward in his body. Why is he forming calcium? What is the solution? Could it be the thyroid? If so, would surgery help?


It is more likely to be from the chronic kidney failure and hyperparathyroidism. I do not believe this is from the thyroid, and it is unlikely to be from the diabetes with high glucose levels.


[Editor’s comment: As Dr. Lane indicates, there’s a chance that what you heard may relate to hyperparathyroidism and chronic kidney disease, or perhaps to an entirely different situation, where the arteries of the body have calcium deposits in the lining of the blood vessels. In any case, your description of a “calcium deposit from the feet to the waist” does not fit any medical condition. I suspect either you misheard your friend, or your friend misheard the doctor.