Hyperparathyroidism is a disorder in which the parathyroid glands in your neck produce too much parathyroid hormone (PTH).
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
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.
Medical conditions that cause low blood calcium or increased phosphate can also lead to hyperparathyroidism. Common conditions include:
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:
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:
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:
Outlook depends on the cause of hyperparathyroidism.
Long-term problems that can occur when hyperparathyroidism is not well controlled include:
Parathyroid gland surgery can result in hypoparathyroidism and damage to the nerves that control the vocal cords.
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.