CHOC Children's

Hyperparathyroidism

What is hyperparathyroidism?

Hyperparathyroidism is caused by overactive parathyroid glands. Overactive parathyroid glands produce high levels of parathyroid hormones, which, in turn, results in increased levels of calcium in the blood stream. The excess calcium released by the bones leads to osteoporosis and osteomalacia (both bone-weakening diseases). Another result of hyperparathyroidism is kidney stones, because of high levels of calcium excreted into the urine by the kidneys. Hyperparathyroidism is quite rare in children.

What causes hyperparathyroidism?

Causes of hyperparathyroidism include benign (non-cancerous) tumors on the parathyroid glands or enlargement of the parathyroid glands.

What are symptoms of hyperparathyroidism?

According to a recent study, children with hyperparathyroidism experience more severe symptoms than adults. The following are the most common symptoms of hyperparathyroidism in children. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • kidney pain (due to the presence of kidney stones)
  • diminished bone density that causes bone pain
  • aches and pains
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • excessive urination
  • confusion
  • muscle weakness

The symptoms of hyperparathyroidism may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

How is hyperparathyroidism diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for hyperparathyroidism may include:

  • bone x-rays - a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.
  • laboratory tests (to measure calcium and parathyroid hormone levels)

Treatment for hyperparathyroidism:

Specific treatment for hyperparathyroidism will be determined by your child's physician based on:

  • your child's age, overall health, and medical history
  • extent of the disease
  • your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • expectations for the course of the disease
  • your opinion or preference

Treatment may include removal of parathyroid tissue.

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It is important to remember the health information found on this website is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your healthcare 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 medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.

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