Primary Hyperparathyroidism

Primary Hyperparathyroidism

Primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) is an endocrine disorder where one or more of the parathyroid glands are over-producing the hormone parathyroid hormone (PTH). This over-production of PTH can cause a number of health problems, including an elevated calcium level in the blood. It is typically caused when one or more of the four parathyroid glands grows a noncancerous adenoma. PHPT is the most common endocrine disorder, estimated to affect about 1-2 people per 1000.

Signs and Symptoms

The most common symptom of PHPT is hypercalcemia, which is an abnormally high level of calcium in the blood. This can lead to a number of problems, such as excessive thirst and frequent urination, kidney stones, constipation, bone and joint pain, fatigue, and even confusion. Other symptoms may include headaches, depression, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.


If PHPT is suspected, your doctor may order blood tests to look for elevated calcium. They may also order a PTH test to measure levels of PTH. Imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI may also be used to look for any abnormalities in the parathyroid glands.


The main goal of treatment is to reduce elevated calcium levels. This can be done through medication to block the production of PTH and by using phosphate binders to help the body absorb and excrete excess calcium. If underlying causes of PHPT cannot be found, then surgery may be recommended to remove the abnormal parathyroid gland.


Without early diagnosis and treatment, PHPT can lead to a number of serious complications. These include kidney stones, bone loss, high blood pressure, and impaired kidney function. It can also increase the risk of developing certain types of cancer.


Primary hyperparathyroidism cannot be prevented, as it is usually caused by an abnormality in the parathyroid glands. However, it is important to regularly monitor calcium levels in order to detect any signs of disease early.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Drink plenty of fluids to help flush out excess calcium in the urine.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet, including plenty of calcium-rich foods.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption.
  • Monitor calcium levels regularly.
  • Exercise regularly to help keep bones strong and prevent bone loss.