What is Hypoparathyroidism?
Hypoparathyroidism occurs when the parathyroid glands do not secrete enough 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 low, calcium levels are low and phosphate levels are high in the bloodstream.
What are the causes?
- Low production of parathyroid hormone
- Factors that cause hypoparathyroidism are:
- Acquired hypoparathyroidism – occurs after accidental damage of the parathyroid glands or removal of the glands during surgery
- Hereditary hypoparathyroidism – occurs when the parathyroid glands are not present or don’t work properly at birth
- Autoimmune disease – sometimes the immune system treats parathyroid glands as foreign objects and tries to reject them, preventing them from making the hormone
- Cancer radiation treatment – this treatment can destroy the parathyroid glands
- Low levels of magnesium in the blood – parathyroid glands need a certain level of magnesium in order to function properly
Treatments for Hypoparathyroidism:
- Calcium carbonate tablets to help normalize the levels of calcium in the blood
- Vitamin D supplements to help increase calcium levels and decrease phosphate levels in the blood
- Diet rich in calcium and low in phosphorus
- IV infusion – for immediate relief of symptoms
- Medicine (a diuretic) to increase calcium levels in the blood
What can I do?
- Make sure your child eats properly – you may want to consult a dietician
- Get your child’s calcium and phosphate levels checked regularly
- 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.
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- Twitching or spasms of muscles especially around the mouth
- Fatigue or weakness
- Patchy hair loss (in areas like the eyebrows)
- Dry, coarse skin
- Brittle nails
- Mood swings