- Hypoparathyroidism Center
- Hyperthyroidism Slideshow Pictures
- Take the Thyroid Disorder Quiz
- Thyroid Symptoms and Solutions Slideshow Pictures
- Patient Comments: Hypoparathyroidism - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Hypoparathyroidism - Treatment
- Find a local Endocrinologist in your town
*Hypoparathyroidism facts by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
- Hypoparathyroidism is a condition in which the body doesn't make enough parathyroid hormone (PTH), a hormone that regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in your body's bones and blood.
- Hypoparathyroidism is very rare. It is different from hyperparathyroidism, a much more common condition in which the body makes too much PTH.
- The most common cause of hypoparathyroidism is injury to the parathyroid glands, such as during head and neck surgery. In other cases, it is present at birth or may be associated with an autoimmune disease.
- Symptoms of hypoparathyroidism may include tingling in the lips, fingers, and toes; dry hair, brittle nails, and dry, coarse skin; muscle cramps and pain in the face, hands, legs, and feet; cataracts; dental problems; memory loss, headaches, and muscle spasms.
- Calcium carbonate and vitamin D supplements are the only currently approved treatment.
What is hypoparathyroidism?
Hypoparathyroidism is a condition in which the body doesn't make enough parathyroid hormone (PTH).
This hormone regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in your body's bones and blood. Decreased levels of PTH lead to low levels of calcium and high levels of phosphorus in the blood. This imbalance can lead to problems with bones, muscles, skin, and nerve endings.
What causes hypoparathyroidism?
The most common cause of hypoparathyroidism is injury to the parathyroid glands, such as during head and neck surgery. Parathyroid glands are small endocrine glands that are located in the neck behind the thyroid gland.
It other cases, hypoparathyroidism is present at birth or may be associated with an autoimmune disease that affects the parathyroids along with other glands in the body, such as the thyroid, ovaries, or adrenal glands.
Hypoparathyroidism is very rare. It is different from hyperparathyroidism, a much more common condition in which the body makes too much PTH.
What are the symptoms of hypoparathyroidism?
Symptoms of hypoparathyroidism may include:
- Tingling in the lips, fingers, and toes
- Dry hair, brittle nails, and dry, coarse skin
- Muscle cramps and pain in the face, hands, legs, and feet
- Cataracts on the eyes
- Malformations of the teeth, including weakened tooth enamel and misshapen roots of the teeth
- Loss of memory
- Severe muscle spasms (also called tetany) and convulsions
How is hypoparathyroidism treated?
The goal of treatment for hypoparathyroidism is to restore the body's calcium and phosphorus to normal levels. Calcium carbonate and vitamin D supplements are the only currently approved treatment. However, NIH studies have shown the investigational drug PTH to work well as an alternative therapy.
If hypoparathyroidism is diagnosed and treated early, outcomes are usual good and the body grows normally.
If hypoparathyroidism is left untreated, complications can include a blocked airway due to severe muscle spasms, stunted growth, malformed teeth, development of cataracts, and calcium deposits in the brain.
IMAGESSee a medical illustration of the thyroid plus our entire medical gallery of human anatomy and physiology See Images
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Last update: 9/24/2008
SOURCE: National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Top Hypoparathyroidism Related Articles
calcium carbonate (Caltrate 600, Os-Cal 500, Tums)Calcium carbonate (Caltrate 600, Os-Cal 500, Tums Extra, Tums Chewy Delight, and Many Other Brands and Generics) is a prescription drug used as part of a regimen to prevent and treat osteoporosis in individuals with low levels of calcium in their diets and as an antacid for minor upset stomachs. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, storage, and patient safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Indigestion (Dyspepsia, Upset Stomach Pain)Indigestion (dyspepsia) can be caused by diseases or conditions that involve the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and also by some diseases and conditions that do not involve the GI tract. Indigestion can be a chronic condition in which the symptoms fluctuate in frequency and intensity. Signs and symptoms that accompany indigestion include pain in the chest, upper abdominal pain, belching, nausea, bloating, abdominal distention, feeling full after eating only a small portion of food, and rarely, vomiting.
ELISA TestsELISA stands for "enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay." This is a rapid immunochemical test that involves an enzyme (a protein that catalyzes a biochemical reaction). It also involves an antibody or antigen (immunologic molecules).
Headaches can be divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches are considered primary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease. Headache symptoms vary with the headache type. Over-the-counter pain relievers provide short-term relief for most headaches.
How Can a Man Tell if He Has a Hormonal Imbalance?What is a hormonal imbalance? Learn the signs of hormonal imbalance in men and what to do if you suspect you have a hormonal imbalance.
Muscle CrampsMuscle cramps are involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscles that do not relax. Extremely common, any muscles that have voluntary control, including some organs, are subject to cramp. Since there is such variety in the types of muscle cramps that can occur, many causes and preventative medications are known. Stretching is the most common way to stop or prevent most muscle cramps.
Muscle SpasmsMuscle spasms are involuntary muscle contractions that come on suddenly and are usually quite painful. Dehydration, doing strenuous exercise in a hot environment, prolonged muscle use, and certain diseases of the nervous system may cause muscle spasms. Symptoms and signs of a muscle spasm include an acute onset of pain and a possible bulge seen or felt beneath the skin where the muscle is located. Gently stretching the muscle usually resolves a muscle spasm.
Parathyroidectomy SurgeryParathyroidectomy is the removal of one or more of the parathyroid glands to treat hyperparathyroidism. Risks of parathyroidectomy include:
- paralysis of the vocal cords,
- difficulty swallowing thin liquids,
- difficulty breathing,
- and drug reactions.
- damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve,
- bleeding or hematoma,
- problems maintaining calcium levels in the blood,
- need for further and more aggressive surgery,
- need for a limited or total thyroidectomy,
- prolonged pain,
- impaired healing,
- and recurrence of the tumor.
Thyroid DisordersThere are several types of thyroid disorders including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiters, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer. Symptoms vary by condition. Diagnosis is made with blood tests, scans, ultrasound, or biopsy. Treatments depend on the disorder and can include medication or surgery.
Thyroid ScanThyroid scanning is used to determine how active the thyroid is in manufacturing thyroid hormone. This can determine whether inflammation of the thyroid gland (thyroiditis) is present. It can also detect the presence and degree of overactivity of the gland (hyperthyroidism) or, conversely, it can determine the presence and degree of underactivity of the gland (hypothyroidism).
vitamin D (Drisdol (Vitamin D2), Ergocalciferol (Vitamin D2), Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3)Vitamin D (Ergocalciferol [Vitamin D2], Cholecalciferol [Vitamin D3]) is required for the maintanence for bones and teeth. It works to increase absorption of calcium and to prevent its loss through the kidneys.
What Causes Low and High Prolactin Levels?Prolactin plays an important role in the reproductive system of both men and women. Learn what causes an increase or decrease of prolactin levels, the signs to look for, and what to do about low and high prolactin levels.
What Diseases Does an Endocrinologist Treat?Hormones are secreted by the endocrine glands of the body. Different hormones have different actions. Each hormone acts on a specific body part. An endocrinologist is a specialist doctor who treats imbalances of hormones in the endocrine system.
What Effect Does Hypothyroidism Have On You?What is hypothyroidism? Learn the signs of hypothyroidism, what causes hypothyroidism, and how hypothyroidism affects the body.