Contact Us | Patient Portal | Search:
Printer Friendly VersionEmail A FriendAdd ThisIncrease Text SizeDecrease Text Size

Hypoparathyroidism

 

Definition

Hypoparathyroidism is is an endocrine disorder in which the parathyroid glands in the neck do not produce enough parathyroid hormone (PTH).

See also: Hyperparathyroidism

Causes

The parathyroid glands help control calcium use and removal by the body. They do this by producing parathyroid hormone, or PTH. PTH helps control calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D levels within the blood and bone.

Hypoparathyroidism occurs when the glands produce too little PTH. Blood calcium levels fall, and phosphorus levels rise.

The most common cause of hypoparathyroidism is injury to the parathyroid glands during head and neck surgery. Rarely, hypoparathyroidism is a side effect of radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism may also be caused by

DiGeorge syndrome is a childhood disease in which hypoparathyroidism occurs because all the parathyroid glands are missing at birth. Familial hypoparathyroidism occurs with other endocrine diseases, such as adrenal insufficiency, in a syndrome called type I polyglandular autoimmune syndrome (PGA I).

The risk factors for hypoparathyroidism include recent thyroid or neck surgery, a family history of parathyroid disorder, or certain autoimmune diseases such as Addison's disease.

Symptoms

Additional symptoms may include:

Signs and tests

Blood tests will be done to check calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and PTH levels. An ECG may show abnormal heart rhythms.

A urine test may be done to determine how much calcium is being removed from the body.

Support Groups

Expectations (prognosis)

The outcome is likely to be good if the diagnosis is made early. However, changes in the teeth, the development of cataracts, and brain calcifications are irreversible.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you develop any symptoms of hypoparathyroidism.

Seizures or breathing problems are an emergency. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Complications

Hypoparathyroidism in children may lead to stunted growth, malformed teeth, and slow mental development.

Overtreatment with vitamin D and calcium can cause hypercalcemia (high blood calcium) and may sometimes interfere with kidney function.

Hypoparathyroidism increases your risk of pernicious anemia, Addison's disease, cataracts, and Parkinson's disease.

Treatments

The goal of treatment is to restore the calcium and mineral balance in the body.

Treatment involves calcium carbonate and vitamin D supplements, which usually must be taken for life. Blood levels are measured regularly to make sure that the dose is correct. A high-calcium, low-phosphorous diet is recommended.

Persons who have life-threatening attacks of low calcium levels or prolonged muscle contractions are given calcium through a vein (IV). Precautions are taken to prevent seizures or larynx spasms. The heart is monitored for abnormal rhythms until the person is stable. When the life-threatening attack has been controlled, treatment continues with medicine taken by mouth.

References

Wysolmerski JJ. Insogna KL. The Parathyroid Glands, Hypercalcemia, and Hypocalcemia. In: Kronenberg HM, Schlomo M, Polansky KS, Larsen PR, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2008: chap. 266.

Bringhurst FR, Demay MB, Kronenberg HM. Disorders of Mineral Metabolism. In: Kronenberg HM, Schlomo M, Polansky KS, Larsen PR, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 11th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2008: chap. 27.


Review Date: 7/15/2008
Reviewed By: Robert Cooper, MD, Endocinology Specialist  and Chief of Medicine, Holyoke Medical Center, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston MA Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2009 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
MAIMONIDES
MEDICAL CENTER


Home Page
Why Choose Us
Donations
Website Terms of Use
PATIENT
INFORMATION


Visitor & Patient Info
Patient Portal
We Speak Your Language
Patient Privacy
Contact Us
KEY
INFORMATION


Find a Physician
Medical Services
Maimonides In the News
Directions & Parking
FOR HEALTH
PROFESSIONALS


Medical Education
Career Opportunities
Nurses & Physicians
Staff Intranet Access

Maimonides Medical Center    |    4802 Tenth Avenue    |    Brooklyn, NY 11219    |    718.283.6000