Krisha McCoy, MS
The parathyroid glands are four small glands in the neck. They make parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH raises the level of calcium in the blood.
In hyperparathyroidism, too much PTH is secreted. This causes high levels of calcium in the blood. High calcium is known as hypercalcemia. The condition is classified as being:
In most cases, the exact cause is not known. Factors that may contribute include:
The following factors increase your chance of developing hyperparathyroidism:
If you experience any of these, do not assume it is due to this condition. The symptoms may be caused by other health conditions. If you have any one of them, see your doctor.
The degree of hypercalcemia, as well as the disease progress, will determine the symptoms. Your blood level of calcium must be elevated to have most cases of hyperparathyroidism. Symptoms commonly seen with primary hyperparathyroidism include the following:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a specialist. An endocrinologist is a specialist that focuses on hormones.
Tests may include the following:
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Depending on the type of hyperparathyroidism treatment options include the following:
Your doctor may simply choose to regularly check your blood calcium levels. The doctor will also monitor you for possible complications. This may include regular bone density tests every 1-2 years.
Adequate calcium intake may play a role in preventing hyperparathyroidism in women. Try to get recommended levels of calcium through dietary choices and supplements.
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
The Hormone Foundation
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders
Canada Health Portal
Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism
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Last reviewed April 2012 by
Konda Mohan Reddy, MD, FAAP
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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