Hyperparathyroidism

What is it?

Hyperparathyroidism is a condition caused by too much parathyroid hormone being secreted from the parathyroid glands, which are small glands located low in the neck and just behind the thyroid gland.  This leads to a number of changes in the body that increase calcium in the blood.  Symptoms caused by this high calcium in the blood and too little calcium in bones include brittle bones, bone and joint pain, being thirstier or urinating more than usual, muscle cramping, kidney stones, abdominal pain and appetite loss, fatigue, depression, and forgetfulness.

How is it treated?

Hyperparathyroidism is further classified based on a number of laboratory values that determine whether the parathyroid glands are responding to a problem elsewhere in the body or if the glands themselves are the problem.  When there are problems elsewhere in the body, this can often be treated medically by a primary doctor, endocrinologist, and other doctors.  When there is a problem with the parathyroid glands themselves, then surgical removal of the abnormal gland(s) can be used to cure the problem.