The parathyroid glands are four pea-sized glands. They are located next to the thyroid gland in the neck. The glands secrete the parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH helps to regulate the level of calcium in the blood.
In hypoparathyroidism, there is not enough PTH secreted. This causes low levels of calcium in the blood. Low blood calcium is known as hypocalcemia.
Hypoparathyroidism may be caused by:
In some cases, a cause cannot be found.
Factors that may increase your chance of hypoparathyroidism include:
Hypoparathyroidism does not always cause symptoms. If symptoms do develop, they may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
An electrocardiogram will be done to look for an abnormal heart beat.
Treatment options include the following:
Calcium and vitamin D will usually be taken indefinitely. They are often taken by mouth.
Calcium may be given by injection. This is done when immediate symptom relief is needed.
Recombinant human parathyroid hormon is FDA approved for treatment.
May be given to patients that have high blood and urine calcium on the usual treatment.
There are no current guidelines to prevent hypoparathyroidism.
Some surgeons may move the parathyroid glands (autotransplant) before a total thyroidectomy to prevent damage.
Hypoparathyroidism Association, Inc.
National Organization for Rare Disorders
Canadian Society of Endocrinology & Metabolism
Definition of hypoparathyroidism and related disorders. The Hypoparathyroidism Association website. Available at: https://www.hypopara.org/about-hpth/definition.html. Accessed August 23, 2017.
Hypoparathyroidism. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114796/Hypoparathyroidism. Updated June 27, 2017. Accessed August 23, 2017.
Hypoparathyroidism. National Organization for Rare Disorders website. Available at: http://www.rarediseases.org/rare-disease-information/rare-diseases/byID/703/viewFullReport. Updated April 2, 2014. Accessed August 23, 2017.
De Sanctis V, Soliman A, Fiscina B. Hypoparathyroidism: from diagnosis to treatment. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obes. 2012 Dec;19(6):435-42.
Shoback D. Hypoparathyroidism. N Engl J Med 2008; 359:391-403.
Moffett JM, Suliburk J. Parathyroid autotransplantation. Endocr Pract. 2011;17 Suppl 1:83-89.
Thakker RV. Genetic developments in hypoparathyroidism. Lancet. 2001;357(9261):974-976.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael Woods, MD, FAAP Last Updated: 9/30/2014