What Is Hyperparathyroidism?

Hyperparathyroidism is a condition in which the parathyroid glands, which are small glands located in the neck, produce too much parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH helps regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in the body. When too much PTH is produced, it can lead to an increased level of calcium in the blood, a condition known as hypercalcemia.

The most common cause of hyperparathyroidism is a benign tumor of the parathyroid gland (parathyroid adenoma). This condition occurs mostly in adults, but can also occur in children. Other causes of the condition include hyperplasia (overgrowth) of the parathyroid glands, parathyroid cysts and other cancers.

Symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism

The main symptom of hyperparathyroidism is hypercalcemia. Other common symptoms include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Muscle, joint, and bone pain
  • Headache and confusion
  • Depression
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Kidney stones
  • Bone loss and fractures


Hyperparathyroidism is diagnosed with a blood test that measures the levels of calcium and PTH in the blood. If the doctor suspects the patient has parathyroid adenoma, an imaging scan such as CT or MRI may be ordered. The doctor may also order a bone scan to look for signs of bone damage.


Treatment for hyperparathyroidism depends on the cause. In most cases, surgery is needed to remove the adenoma or other affected glands. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to control the production of PTH and reduce calcium levels. The goal of treatment is to reduce the symptoms and prevent further bone damage.


There are no specific ways to prevent hyperparathyroidism. However, it is important to get regular check-ups with your doctor, so that any changes in your health can be caught early and treated if necessary.