What is Hyperparathyroidism?

Hyperparathyroidism occurs when the parathyroid glands secrete too much parathyroid hormone. The parathyroid glands are located in the neck next to the thyroid gland. Parathyroid hormone is important in the body because it makes sure calcium and phosphate are in balance in the bloodstream. When parathyroid hormone is high, calcium levels are high in the bloodstream. High calcium levels can lead to many health problems. Primary hyperparathyroidism occurs when there is a problem with one of the parathyroid glands. Secondary hyperparathyroidism is a result of another medical condition which causes the glands to overcompensate for a loss of calcium in other parts of the body.

What are the causes?

  • High levels of parathyroid hormone that leads to high levels of calcium in the blood
  • Primary hyperparathyroidism is caused by:
  • A non-cancerous growth on the gland (most common)
  • Enlargement of two or more parathyroid glands
  • Cancerous tumor (rare)
  • Secondary hyperparathyroidism is caused by:
  • Severe calcium deficiency
  • Severe vitamin D deficiency
  • Chronic kidney failure

Treatments for Hyperparathyroidism:

  • Surgery – to remove the glands that are enlarged or have a non-cancerous tumor
  • Medication
  • Calcimimetics – a medicine that acts like calcium and fools the glands into producing less parathyroid hormone
  • Biophosphates – to prevent the loss of calcium from bone

What can I do?

  • Make sure your child eats properly and drinks plenty of water – you may want to consult a dietician
  • Talk to your doctor about any changes in your child’s symptoms


It is important to remember the health information found on this Web site is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your health care provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a true medical emergency, call 911 immediately.


  • Fragile bones that break easily
  • Kidney stones
  • Excessive urination
  • Abdominal pain
  • Tiring easily or weakness
  • Bone and joint pain
  • Nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite
  • Reports of feeling sick with no apparent cause **This disorder is usually diagnosed before symptoms appear. Symptoms are usually a result of damage or dysfunction in organs caused by high calcium levels.