Hyperparathyroidism is a condition in which one or more of the parathyroid glands becomes overactive and as a result, produces and secretes excessive amounts of the parathyroid hormone into the bloodstream. Hyperparathyroidism is considered to be a relatively common endocrine disorder, affecting 1-7 cases in 1000 adults.
Hyperparathyroidism can be caused by the presence of a tumor, an enlargement of the gland, or low calcium levels that stimulate the parathyroid gland to produce more parathyroid hormone. There are three types of hyperparathyroidism – primary, secondary, and tertiary. In the primary type, the parathyroid gland produces excess parathyroid hormone due to a tumorous growth or an enlargement of the glands themselves. The secondary type occurs due to other health issues such as chronic kidney failure that causes abnormally low calcium levels, while the tertiary occurs when the parathyroid gland continues to produce excess parathyroid hormone even after the calcium levels have returned to normal.
Some patients with primary hyperparathyroidism do not experience any symptoms of all. Those that do commonly experience fatigue, body aches, weakness, and depression. Other possible symptoms include increased urination, nausea, and vomiting, constipation, excessive thirst, etc. The secondary hyperthyroidism often causes common fractures, bone deformities, and bone pains.
If it is a milder case of primary hyperparathyroidism that does not cause any symptoms and only causes a slight increase in blood calcium levels, it may be left untreated. Drinking more water and exercising regularly should do the trick. For more severe cases of hyperthyroidism, the treatment plan includes a surgery, which is the treatment method that is being used in 95% of all primary hyperparathyroidism cases, in order to remove any tumorous growths or enlargements. Medications such as bisphosphonates, hormone replacement therapy, and calcimimetics can be prescribed as well.
Left untreated, hyperparathyroidism can lead to osteoporosis, kidney failure, heart disease, and neonatal hypoparathyroidism.