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Alternative namesParathyroid-related hypercalcemia
DefinitionPrimary hyperparathyroidism involves excessive production of parathyroid hormone caused by enlargement of one or more of the parathyroid glands.
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 .
Rarely, the disease is caused by parathyroid carcinoma.
Signs and tests
TreatmentTreatment 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
Surgery is also recommended for younger patients (less than 50 years old).
Expectations (prognosis)The prognosis is good for mild cases, which are the majority.
ComplicationsComplications that result from excess calcium deposits within the body:
Calling your health care providerCall 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.
Update Date: 9/1/2002Todd T. Brown, M.D., Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT