Health A-Z

What is Hyper Parathyroidism?

What are parathyroid glands?

The parathyroid glands are four small glands that are located on the thyroid, usually two above and two below on each pole.

What the parathyroid glands do?

The parathyroid glands regulate the calcium levels in our body, making sure that the body has enough blood calcium by inhibiting the release of calcium in the urine and increasing the release of calcium from the bones.

Causes of hyperparathyroidism (increased function of the parathyroids)

  • Cancer of the parathyroid glands
  • Malabsorption
  • Chronic kidney failure
  • Rickets
  • Osteomalacia

What happens when your parathyroid glands are overactive?

When your parathyroid glands are overactive, there will be high blood calcium levels and this can result in…

  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Muscle weakness
  • High blood pressure
  • Itchiness of the skin
  • Calcium may also precipitate in the eyes and soft tissues of the body.

There may also be bone pain, weakness, deformity and fractures. Dental strength may also decrease. Among other symptoms one can experience easy fatigue, numbness, and depression.

Lab tests include a blood calcium level that will be high and blood phosphate levels will be low. X-rays and bone scans are also done.

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