What is hyperparathyroidism?

Hyperparathyroidism is caused by factors that increase the production of parathyroid hormone. The parathyroid glands maintain proper levels of both calcium and phosphorus in your body by turning the secretion of parathyroid hormone (PTH) off or on, much as a thermostat controls a heating system to maintain a constant air temperature. Vitamin D also is involved in regulating the amount of calcium in your blood.

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Also known as hypoparathyroidism, parathyroid disorders
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hyperparathyroidism information from trusted sources:


Hyperparathyroidism is the result of an overproduction of a hormone called parathyroid hormone (or PTH) from the parathyroid glands. The parathyroid glands are four small glands that surround the thyroid and are found in the anterior part of the lower neck. They are about the size of a pea. Occasionally, they may be in different locations because of the way the glands develop, but the location (embedded in the thyroid for example) does not itself affect the function of the gland.


Most people have four pea-sized glands, called parathyroid glands, on the thyroid gland in the neck. Though their names are similar, the thyroid and parathyroid glands are completely different. The parathyroid glands make parathyroid hormone (PTH), which helps your body keep the right balance of calcium and phosphorous. If your parathyroid glands make too much or too little hormone, it disrupts this balance. If they secrete extra PTH, you have hyperparathyroidism, and your blood calcium rises. In many cases, a benign tumor on a parathyroid gland makes it overactive. Or, the extra hormones can come from enlarged parathyroid glands. Very rarely, the cause is cancer.

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Hyperparathyroidism is an excess of calcium in the bloodstream due to overactivity of one or more of the body's four parathyroid glands. These oval, grain-of-rice-sized glands are located in your neck.

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Presents answers to common questions about this disorder. By NIDDK.

Hyperparathyroidism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hyperparathyroidism is overactivity of the parathyroid glands resulting in excess production of parathyroid hormone (PTH). The parathyroid hormone regulates ...

Read more on en.wikipedia.org

Hyperparathyroidism Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment on ...

Mar 11, 2011 ... Primary hyperparathyroidism is a disorder of the parathyroid glands, also called parathyroids. "Primary" means this disorder originates in ...

Read more on www.medicinenet.com

Hyperparathyroidism: the Development of Parathyroid Tumors ...

Feb 11, 2011 ... Hyperparathyroidism is the main parathyroid disease. Hyperparathyroidism is caused by too much parathyroid hormone. Parathyroid disease is ...

Read more on parathyroid.com

Hyperparathyroidism: overactivity of the parathyroid glands ...

Mar 29, 2009 ... This comprehensive overview of hyperparathyroidism (when your parathyroid glands produce too much hormone) covers the complications, ...

Read more on www.endocrineweb.com

Hyperparathyroidism -- familydoctor.org

Learn about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of hyperparathyroidism, a problem with the parathyroid glands.

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Hyperparathyroidism in Emergency Medicine: eMedicine Emergency ...

Apr 6, 2010 ... Overview: The parathyroid glands regulate serum calcium and phosphorus levels through the secretion of parathyroid hormone (PTH), ...

Read more on emedicine.medscape.com


Complications of hyperparathyroidism are primarily related to the long-term effect of too little calcium in your bones and too much calcium circulating in your bloodstream. Common complications include: Osteoporosis. The loss of calcium often results in osteoporosis, or weak, brittle bones that fracture easily.; Kidney stones. The excess of calcium in your blood may cause small, hard deposits of calcium and other substances to form in your kidneys. A kidney stone usually causes significant pain as it passes through the urinary tract.; Cardiovascular disease. Although the exact cause-and-effect link is unclear, high calcium levels are associated with cardiovascular conditions, such as high...

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Exams and Tests
Blood tests will be done to check for increased levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH), calcium, and alkaline phosphatase, and lower levels of phosphorus. A 24-hour urine collection test can help determine how much calcium is being removed from the body.

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Lifestyle and home remedies
If you and your doctor have chosen to monitor, rather than treat, your hyperparathyroidism, the following suggestions can help prevent complications: Monitor how much calcium and vitamin D you get in your diet. Limit your intake of calcium to about 1,000 to 1,200 milligrams a day and your intake of vitamin D to about 400 to 600 international units a day. Talk to your doctor about dietary guidelines that are appropriate for you.; Drink plenty of water. Drink six to eight glasses of water daily to lessen the risk of kidney stones.; Exercise regularly. Regular exercise, including strength training, helps maintain strong bones. Talk to your doctor about what type of exercise program is best...

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Medical advice
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of hyperparathyroidism.

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Outlook (Prognosis)
The outlook depends on the specific type of hyperparathyroidism.

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Possible Complications
Complications may include:Increased risk of fractures; Urinary tract infection due to kidney stones and blockage; Peptic ulcer disease ; Pancreatitis ; Pseudogout

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Preparing for your appointment
In most cases, elevated calcium is detected by blood tests your doctor has ordered as part of a routine screening, a diagnostic workup for an unrelated condition, or a diagnostic workup to identify the cause of very general symptoms.

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Getting the proper amount of calcium in your diet or through supplements may reduce your risk of secondary hyperparathyroidism.

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Risk factors
You may be at an increased risk of primary hyperparathyroidism if you: Are a woman who has gone through menopause; Have had prolonged, severe calcium or vitamin D deficiency; Have a rare, inherited disorder, such as multiple endocrine neoplasia, type I, which usually affects multiple glands; Have had radiation treatment for cancer that has exposed your neck to radiation; Have taken lithium, a drug most often used to treat bipolar disorder

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Hyperparathyroidism is often diagnosed before signs or symptoms of the disorder are apparent. When symptoms do occur, they are the result of damage or dysfunction in other organs or tissues due to high calcium levels circulating in the blood or too little calcium in bones.

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Tests and diagnosis
Blood tests If the result of a blood test indicates you have elevated calcium in your blood, your doctor will likely repeat the test to confirm the results after you have not eaten for a period of time (fasted). A number of conditions can raise calcium levels, but your doctor can make a diagnosis of hyperparathyroidism if blood tests show you also have elevated parathyroid hormone.

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Treatments and drugs
Watchful waiting Your doctor may recommend no treatment and regular monitoring if: Your calcium levels are only slightly elevated; Your kidneys are functioning normally; Your bone density is normal or only slightly below normal; You have no other symptoms that may improve with treatment

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