Hypoparathyroidism 101: Hypoparathyroidism occurs when an individual's parathyroid glands produce too little parathyroid hormone (PTH). This leads to low blood calcium levels, and rising phosphorus blood levels. Symptoms vary depending on the cause, but usually involve involuntary muscle contractions and decreased nerve functioning. This condition is most often the result of accidental injury or removal of the parathyroid glands during a surgical operation. Treatment may involve long term supplement use to regulate levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. Check out this infographic to learn more about hypoparathyroidism:
Hypoparathyroidism 101 - Symptoms
Most of the symptoms associated with hypoparathyroidism arise from low blood calcium levels. Insufficient calcium causes problems with muscle contraction and nerve functioning.
- Tingling or burning sensation in fingertips, toes, and lips
- Muscle aches or cramps in legs, feet, abdomen, or face
- Muscle twitches or spasms, especially around the mouth
- Fatigue or weakness
- Patchy hair loss
- Dry skin
Hypoparathyroidism 101 - Causes
This condition is most often caused by accidental injury or removal of the parathyroid glands during surgical operations of the face and neck. However, sometimes there may be other reasons for insufficient PTH production.
- In hereditary hypoparathyroidism, the individual is either born without parathyroid glands or they don't work properly.
- Certain autoimmune diseases in which the immune system produces antibodies to reject the parathyroid glands.
- Radiation cancer treatments to the face or neck can damage the parathyroid glands.
- Low levels of magnesium in the blood can negatively affect normal functioning of the parathyroid glands.
Hypoparathyroidism 101 - Treatment
Treatment centers around controlling proper levels of blood calcium and phosphorus.
- Oral calcium tablets
- High doses of vitamin D
- Daily injections of parathyroid hormone. This is restricted to cases that do not respond to supplementation as it carries the potential risk of developing bone cancer.
- Diet rich in calcium and low in phosphorus
- Intravenous (IV) infusion of calcium for immediate relief
- Regular blood tests to monitor calcium and phosphorus blood levels