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Parathyroid glands are located behind the thyroid gland and regulate the amount of calcium in your blood. Parathyroid disease occurs when one or more of the parathyroids develop a tumor which causes them to secrete too much parathyroid hormone, increasing blood calcium levels.  There are three main conditions that affect the parathyroid gland.

What Is Parathyroid Disease?

Parathyroid disease refers to three conditions that affect the parathyroid gland:

Hyperparathyroidism (HPT)

Hyperparathyroidism develops when the parathyroid produces too much PTH. Overproduction of PTH can cause too much calcium to develop in the blood, resulting in osteoporosis and kidney stones.

Symptoms of HPT

  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Bone loss
  • Anxiety and depression


Hypoparathyroidism occurs when the parathyroid glands do not produce enough PTH. Under production of PTH causes the calcium levels in the blood to drop significantly

Symptoms of Hypoparathyroidism

  • Tingling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness
  • Muscle cramps

Parathyroid Cancer

Parathyroid cancer most often occurs in middle-age and is extremely rare.

Symptoms of Parathyroid Cancer

  • Lump in neck
  • Nausea
  • Bone pain
  • Kidney stones
  • Muscle weakness
  • Frequent urination
  • Increase in calcium levels
  • Fatigue
  • Speaking and swallowing issues

How is Parathyroid disease diagnosed?

Parathyroid disease is first diagnosed via a visit to your ENT.  Your doctor will examine your neck area checking for lumps or enlarged glands related to your thyroid.  The next step would be a blood test in order to assess the amount of calcium that is present in your blood. Depending on the results, additional imaging tests such as CT scans, MRI or ultrasound, may be requested to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

How is Parathyroid disease treated?

Surgery (parathyroidectomy) to remove the affected parathyroid gland can cure the condition.  Surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure and in some patients can even be performed with only local anesthesia (minimally invasive parathyroidectomy).

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