Parathyroid Disorders

Primary Hyperthyroidism

There can be several causes for overactive parathyroid glands.

The parathyroid glands produce a hormone (parathyroid hormone or PTH) to help control calcium levels in our bodies. These four, pea-sized glands (two on each side of the neck) sit on the back of the thyroid. Certain parathyroid diseases cause one or more parathyroid glands to become hyperactive, producing too much parathyroid hormone and leading to excessive calcium levels. If left untreated, this hyperparathyroidism can cause kidney damage and kidney stones and osteoporosis (weak bones).

Hyperparathyroidism is most common among women over the age of 50, but can occur in anyone. Women are three times more likely to develop this disease.

Symptoms of hyperparathyroidism

Hyperparathyroidism may cause the following symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Bone problems, including pain and fractures
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Itchy skin
  • Kidney stones
  • Memory loss
  • Stomach ulcers or inflammation
  • Heartburn
  • Wounds that don’t heal over time

These symptoms aren’t specific to hyperparathyroidism. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor to diagnose your condition.

Types of parathyroid diseases

Hyperparathyroidism can be caused by problems with the parathyroid gland itself, or as a result of other conditions like kidney failure.

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