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ENDOCRINOLOGY :: Disorders Affecting Calcium Metabolism

Hypoparathyroidism

What is hypoparathyroidism?

Hypoparathyroidism is caused by underactive parathyroid glands. Underactive parathyroid glands produce too little parathyroid hormones, which, in turn, causes low levels of calcium in the blood stream. The low levels of calcium lead to tetany, an increased excitability of the nerves.

What causes hypoparathyroidism?

Causes of hypoparathyroidism include accidental removal of a parathyroid gland when the thyroid is removed, or when part of the parathyroid tissue is removed during surgery. Other causes include absent parathyroid glands from birth or the sudden stop of functioning due to unknown reasons (idiopathic). It is often associated with cardiac defects, such as DiGeorge.

What are the symptoms of hypoparathyroidism?

The following are the most common symptoms of hypoparathyroidism. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • uncontrollable, painful spasms of the face, hands, arms, and feet
  • seizures

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

How is hypoparathyroidism diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for hypoparathyroidism may include blood tests to measure the parathyroid hormone levels.

Treatment for hypoparathyroidism:

Specific treatment for hypoparathyroidism 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 an injection of calcium to provide immediate relief of symptoms and/or your child taking calcium and vitamin D tablets for the rest of his/her life.

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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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