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Definition of Hyperparathyroidism

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Hyperparathyroidism: Too much parathyroid hormone resulting in abnormally high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia). This can cause bone resorption and osteoporosis, calcium deposits in the kidneys, muscular weakness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, and drowsiness. Hyperparathyroidism can be primary or secondary. Primary hyperparathyroidism is a disorder of the parathyroid glands in which one or more of the parathyroid glands are enlarged (hyperplastic), overactive, and secrete too much parathyroid hormone. In secondary hyperparathyroidism, the parathyroid glands themselves are normal but a problem such as kidney failure makes the body resistant to the action of parathyroid hormone.

Illustration of the Parathyroid Glands

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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