Primary Hyperparathyroidism

What are the Parathyroid Glands?

The parathyroid glands are four tiny glands in the neck on the underside of the thyroid gland. They produce parathyroid hormone, which is responsible for regulating blood calcium and phosphorus levels. Primary hyperparathyroidism is a condition characterized by high parathyroid hormone levels due to enlarged parathyroid glands or a parathyroid tumor (most commonly benign or non-cancerous), and this condition can lead to high levels of calcium in the blood, also know as hypercalcemia.

What is Primary Hyperparathyroidism?

Symptoms of high calcium include abdominal pain, constipation, frequent urination, bone pains, and fatigue, but sometimes it produces no symptoms at all. If the calcium is severely high, it can cause dehydration and confusion and may require hospitalization. Primary hyperparathyroidism can also cause complications over time such as kidney stones, worsening kidney function, or osteoporosis.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Hyperparathyroidism

Diagnosis of this condition includes blood work and urine testing. Imaging is usually recommended to locate the overactive parathyroid gland after a diagnosis is confirmed. Not everyone requires surgery, and there are specific criteria to decide who does. Management is either monitoring conservatively by checking the calcium levels at regular intervals or referral to a general surgeon or ENT surgeon for parathyroid surgery. Sometimes if a patient cannot undergo surgery safely, a medication can be prescribed to reduce the calcium levels. This medication does not protect against osteoporosis. Primary hyperparathyroidism is a condition that our endocrinologists at The Endocrine Center regularly diagnose and can help manage.

If you are near the Houston area and you or your primary care physician feel that you may be experiencing symptoms of primary hyperparathyroidism, please visit our website at or call to schedule a new patient appointment at 713-973-3459.

– Dr. Maria Lee

Dr. Maria Lee

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