Hyperparathyroidism – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic

Posted: May 16, 2019 at 12:52 am

Overview

Hyperparathyroidism is an excess of parathyroid hormone in the bloodstream due to overactivity of one or more of the body's four parathyroid glands. These glands are about the size of a grain of rice and are located in your neck.

The parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone, which helps maintain an appropriate balance of calcium in the bloodstream and in tissues that depend on calcium for proper functioning.

Two types of hyperparathyroidism exist. In primary hyperparathyroidism, an enlargement of one or more of the parathyroid glands causes overproduction of the hormone, resulting in high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause a variety of health problems. Surgery is the most common treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism.

Secondary hyperparathyroidism occurs as a result of another disease that initially causes low levels of calcium in the body and over time, increased parathyroid hormone levels occur.

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

Symptoms may be so mild and nonspecific that they don't seem at all related to parathyroid function, or they may be severe. The range of signs and symptoms include:

See your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms of hyperparathyroidism. These symptoms could be caused by any number of disorders, including some with serious complications. It's important to get a prompt, accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

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 like 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.

Normally, this balancing act works well. When calcium levels in your blood fall too low, your parathyroid glands secrete enough PTH to restore the balance. PTH raises calcium levels by releasing calcium from your bones and increasing the amount of calcium absorbed from your small intestine.

When blood-calcium levels are too high, the parathyroid glands produce less PTH. But sometimes one or more of these glands produce too much hormone, leading to abnormally high levels of calcium (hypercalcemia) and low levels of phosphorus in your blood.

The mineral calcium is best known for its role in keeping your teeth and bones healthy. But calcium has other functions. It aids in the transmission of signals in nerve cells, and it's involved in muscle contraction. Phosphorus, another mineral, works in conjunction with calcium in these areas.

The disorder can generally be divided into two types based on the cause. Hyperparathyroidism may occur because of a problem with the parathyroid glands themselves (primary hyperparathyroidism) or because of another disease that affects the glands' function (secondary hyperparathyroidism).

Primary hyperparathyroidism occurs because of some problem with one or more of the four parathyroid glands:

Primary hyperparathyroidism usually occurs randomly, but some people inherit a gene that causes the disorder.

Secondary hyperparathyroidism is the result of another condition that lowers calcium levels. Therefore, your parathyroid glands overwork to compensate for the loss of calcium. Factors that may contribute to secondary hyperparathyroidism include:

Severe vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D helps maintain appropriate levels of calcium in the blood, and it helps your digestive system absorb calcium from your food.

Your body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight, and you consume some vitamin D in food. If you don't get enough vitamin D, then calcium levels may drop.

You may be at an increased risk of primary hyperparathyroidism if you:

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:

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Hyperparathyroidism - Symptoms and causes - Mayo Clinic

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