What is Primary Hyperparathyroidism?
Primary hyperparathyroidism involves excessive production of parathyroid hormone, caused by enlargement of one or more of the parathyroid glands. Alternative Names: Parathyroid-related hypercalcemia
Causes, incidence, and risk factors:
The parathyroid glands are located at the front and base of the neck at the 4 corners of the thyroid gland. The glands produce parathyroid hormone (PTH), which regulates calcium and phosphorus balance in the body.
In primary hyperparathyroidism, increased secretion of parathyroid hormone occurs because one or more of the glands have become enlarged. The effects of increased calcium are seen in several body systems including the skeletal, gastrointestinal, renal (kidney), muscular, and central nervous system.
The disease is most common in people over 60, but can also be seen in younger adults. Women are more likely to be affected than men. Radiation to the head and neck increases risk. Hyperparathyroidism in childhood is distinctly unusual.
Rarely, the disease is caused by parathyroid carcinoma.
Signs and tests:
This disease may also alter the results of the following tests:
Treatment depends upon the severity and cause of the condition. Mild hypercalcemia may be monitored -- rather than treated -- unless impaired renal function, kidney stones or bone demineralization occur.
Treatment may include:
For symptomatic, severe hypercalcemia, hospitalization may be required. Rehydration using intravenous fluids may be started. Medications to quickly bring down the calcium may be given, such as bisphosphonates and calcitonin
Surgical removal of a tumor or excess parathyroid tissue from hyperplasia is indicated if hypercalcemia is more severe or if one or more of the following complications are present: kidney stones (nephrolithiasis), pancreatitis, psychiatric disease, or bone demineralization.
Surgery is also recommended for younger patients (less than 50 years old).
The prognosis is good for mild cases, which are in the majority.
Complications that result from excess calcium deposits within the body:
Calling your health care provider:
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms indicate that primary hyperparathyroidism may be present.
Call your health care provider if signs of complications develop.