What is hyperparathyroidism?
Hyperparathyroidism is a condition that causes your parathyroid glands to make too much parathyroid hormone (PTH). The parathyroid glands are four small glands located near the thyroid gland in your neck. PTH keeps the level of calcium balanced in your blood. High levels of PTH causes too much calcium to build up in your blood. High calcium levels can cause health problems such as osteoporosis (weak, brittle bones), high blood pressure, and kidney stones.
What causes hyperparathyroidism?
Hyperparathyroidism may be caused by a benign (not cancerous) tumor on the parathyroid glands called an adenoma. Hyperparathyroidism may also be caused by enlarged parathyroid glands. The adenoma or enlarged glands can cause extra PTH to be produced. Hyperparathyroidism may also be caused by radiation to the neck or certain medicines, such as thiazide diuretics. In rare cases, hyperparathyroidism may be caused by cancer of the parathyroid gland.
Diagnosis & Treatment Options
What are the signs and symptoms of hyperparathyroidism?
You may have no signs or symptoms or you may have any of the following:
- Muscle weakness.
- Depression or anxiety.
- General body aches and pains.
- Bone and joint pain.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain.
- Confusion or forgetfulness.
- Increased thirst and urination.
How is hyperparathyroidism diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms. He or she will also order blood tests to check your calcium and parathyroid levels. You may need other tests to check for health problems caused by hyperparathyroidism.
How is hyperparathyroidism treated?
You may not need any treatment if you do not have symptoms. Your healthcare provider may monitor your condition through regular visits and blood tests. You may need medicines to control the amount of PTH your parathyroid glands make. You may also need medicine to keep your bones strong. Surgery may be done to remove an adenoma or your parathyroid glands.
Preparing for Care
When should I seek immediate care?
- You heart beats faster or slower than normal, or it feels like fluttering in your chest.
- You have nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
- You cannot think clearly.
When should I contact my healthcare provider?
- You have bone and joint pain.
- You have increased thirst or you are urinating more often than usual.
- You have a loss of appetite.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.