Hyperparathyroidism is caused by overactive parathyroid glands. Parathyroid glands are tiny glands located next to the thyroid. Overactive parathyroid glands produce too much parathyroid hormone, which in turn stimulates increased levels of calcium in the bloodstream.
The excess calcium released by the bones can lead to osteoporosis and osteomalacia (both bone-weakening diseases). Other results of hyperparathyroidism are kidney stones. These occur because of high levels of calcium excreted into the urine by the kidneys.
Causes of hyperparathyroidism include benign tumors on the parathyroid glands or enlargement of the parathyroid glands.
The following are the most common symptoms of hyperparathyroidism. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Joint aches and pains
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive urination
- Muscle weakness
The symptoms of hyperparathyroidism may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your doctor for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and medical examination, diagnostic procedures for hyperparathyroidism may include:
- Bone X-rays
- Laboratory tests to measure calcium and parathyroid hormone levels
Specific treatment for hyperparathyroidism will be determined by your doctor based on:
- Your age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the disease
- Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disease
- Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include removal of parathyroid tissue.
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Last reviewed: 3/12/2012