Condition 101 About Hyperparathyroidism

What is the definition of Hyperparathyroidism?

Hyperparathyroidism is a disorder in which the parathyroid glands in your neck produce too much parathyroid hormone (PTH).

What are the alternative names for Hyperparathyroidism?

Parathyroid-related hypercalcemia; Osteoporosis - hyperparathyroidism; Bone thinning - hyperparathyroidism; Osteopenia - hyperparathyroidism; High calcium level - hyperparathyroidism; Chronic kidney disease - hyperparathyroidism; Kidney failure - hyperparathyroidism; Overactive parathyroid; Vitamin D deficiency - hyperparathyroidism

What are the causes for Hyperparathyroidism?

There are 4 tiny parathyroid glands in the neck, near or attached to the back side of the thyroid gland.

The parathyroid glands help control calcium use and removal by the body. They do this by producing parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH helps control calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D levels in the blood and bone.

When calcium level is too low, the body responds by making more PTH. This causes the calcium level in the blood to rise.

When one or more of the parathyroid glands grow larger, it leads to too much PTH. Most often, the cause is a benign tumor of the parathyroid glands (parathyroid adenoma). These benign tumors are common and happen without a known cause.

  • The disease is most common in people over age 60, but it can also occur in younger adults. Hyperparathyroidism in childhood is very unusual.
  • Women are more likely to be affected than men.
  • Radiation to the head and neck increases the risk.
  • Some genetic syndromes (multiple endocrine neoplasia I) make it more likely to have hyperparathyroidism.
  • In very rare cases, the disease is caused by parathyroid cancer.

Medical conditions that cause low blood calcium or increased phosphate can also lead to hyperparathyroidism. Common conditions include:

  • Conditions that make it hard for the body to remove phosphate
  • Kidney failure
  • Not enough calcium in the diet
  • Too much calcium lost in the urine
  • Vitamin D disorders (may occur in children who do not eat a variety of foods, and in older adults who do not get enough sunlight on their skin or who have poor absorption of vitamin D from food such as after bariatric surgery)
  • Problems absorbing nutrients from food

What are the symptoms for Hyperparathyroidism?

Hyperparathyroidism is often diagnosed by common blood tests before symptoms occur.

Symptoms are mostly caused by damage to organs from high calcium level in the blood, or by the loss of calcium from the bones. Symptoms can include:

  • Bone pain or tenderness
  • Depression and forgetfulness
  • Feeling tired, ill, and weak
  • Fragile bones of the limbs and spine that can break easily
  • Increased amount of urine produced and needing to urinate more often
  • Kidney stones
  • Nausea and loss of appetite

What are the current treatments for Hyperparathyroidism?

If you have a mildly increased calcium level and don't have symptoms, you may choose to have regular checkups or get treated.

If you decide to have treatment, it may include:

  • Drinking more fluids to prevent kidney stones from forming
  • Exercising
  • Not taking a type of water pill called thiazide diuretic
  • Estrogen for women who have gone through menopause
  • Having surgery to remove the overactive glands

If you have symptoms or your calcium level is very high, you may need surgery to remove the parathyroid gland that is overproducing the hormone.

If you have hyperparathyroidism from a medical condition, your provider may prescribe vitamin D, if you have a low vitamin D level.

If hyperparathyroidism is caused by kidney failure, treatment may include:

  • Extra calcium and vitamin D
  • Avoiding phosphate in the diet
  • The medicine cinacalcet (Sensipar)
  • Dialysis or a kidney transplant
  • Parathyroid surgery, if the parathyroid level becomes uncontrollably high

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Hyperparathyroidism?

Outlook depends on the cause of hyperparathyroidism.

What are the possible complications for Hyperparathyroidism?

Long-term problems that can occur when hyperparathyroidism is not well controlled include:

  • Bones become weak, deformed, or can break
  • High blood pressure and heart disease
  • Kidney stones
  • Long-term kidney disease

Parathyroid gland surgery can result in hypoparathyroidism and damage to the nerves that control the vocal cords.

Parathyroid

REFERENCES

Hollenberg A, Wiersinga WM. Hyperthyroid disorders. In: Melmed S, Auchus RJ, Goldfine AB, Koenig RJ, Rosen CJ, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 12.

Thakker RV. The parathyroid glands, hypercalcemia and hypocalcemia. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 232.

Latest Advances On Hyperparathyroidism

  • Condition: Severe Secondary Hyperparathyroidism in Patients on Hemodialysis
  • Journal: International journal of hyperthermia : the official journal of European Society for Hyperthermic Oncology, North American Hyperthermia Group
  • Treatment Used: Microwave Ablation versus Parathyroidectomy
  • Number of Patients: 92
  • Published —
The study compared the outcomes between microwave ablation versus parathyroidectomy for treating severe secondary hyperparathyroidism in patients on hemodialysis.
  • Condition: Hypophosphatemic Rickets
  • Journal: Journal of medical case reports
  • Treatment Used: Denosumab
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
This case report describes a patient with hypophosphatemic rickets.

Clinical Trials For Hyperparathyroidism

Clinical Trial
  • Status: Not yet recruiting
  • Intervention Type: Biological
  • Participants: 110
  • Start Date: January 1, 2021
Autotaxin in Patients With GNAS/PTH Abnormalities
Clinical Trial
  • Status: Recruiting
  • Participants: 9863
  • Start Date: November 29, 2020
Chinese Chronic Kidney Disease-Mineral and Bone Disorder (CKD-MBD) Prevalence Survey