Hyperparathyroidism is when your parathyroid glands create too much parathyroid hormone in the bloodstream. These glands are located behind the thyroid at the bottom of your neck and are about the size of a grain of rice.
The parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone. This hormone 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. This causes high calcium levels in the blood, which can cause a variety of
health problems. Surgery is the most common treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism.
Secondary hyperparathyroidism occurs due to another disease that first causes low calcium levels in the body. 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 in the blood and urine or too little calcium in bones.
Symptoms may be so mild and nonspecific that they don't seem related to parathyroid function, or they may be severe. The range of signs and symptoms include:
Call for an appointment here at Palmetto Endocrinology 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. This leads to abnormally high calcium levels and low phosphorus levels in your blood.
Calcium is best known for its role in keeping your teeth and bones healthy. But calcium also aids in the transmission of signals in nerve cells, and it's involved in muscle contraction. Phosphorus, another mineral, works along with calcium in these areas.
Hyperparathyroidism may occur because of a problem with the parathyroid glands (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. This causes your parathyroid glands to overwork to compensate for the calcium loss. Factors that may contribute to secondary hyperparathyroidism include:
Your body produces vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. You also consume some vitamin D in food. If you don't get enough vitamin D, then calcium levels may drop.
In some people with long-term end-stage kidney disease, the parathyroid glands enlarge and begin to release PTH on their own, and PTH doesn't go down with medical treatment. This is called tertiary hyperparathyroidism, and people with this condition may require surgery to remove parathyroid tissue.
You may be at an increased risk of primary hyperparathyroidism if you:
Complications of hyperparathyroidism are mainly related to the long-term effect of too little calcium in your bones and too much calcium in your bloodstream. Common complications include:
Here are some ways to help prevent hyperparathyroidism.
We at Palmetto Endocrinology are trained to diagnose and treat hyperparathyroidism. Please make an appointment today to see if we may help you.
You Might Also Enjoy...
How to Tell the Difference between Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism
This month let’s look into adrenal glands and their functions.
This month we review the signs and symptoms of male hypogonadism, as well as an overview of causes and different treatments.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome can be difficult to diagnose and treat. We review some of the nuances.
Discussion and website for type 1 diabetics to have in their toolbox.