Who it affects

Hyperparathyroidism is an uncommon disorder affecting 1 in 500 people.

What gland is involved

There are usually 4 parathyroid gland that lie just behind the thyroid gland (see above). There is a lower and upper gland on the left, and similarly on the right. In this disorder, one gland may be affected in isolation (parathyroid adenoma) or less commonly, all four glands (parathyroid hyperplasia).


Hyperparathyroidism is now commonly discovered following routine blood tests. Patients frequently do not complain of any specific symptoms. Patients may have a history of kidney stones or osteoporosis.


Hyperparathyroidism is diagnosed with blood tests including a blood calcium and parathyroid hormone level. Other investigations you may undergo include 24hr urine collections, bone mineral density scans and ultrasound and isotopes scans of the neck.


Treatment of this disorder is depend on the severity of complications of hyperparathyroidism. The treatment is tailored to individual patients and may include observation and medication alone or surgical removal of any abnormal parathyroid gland(s). Surgical removal is more likely in young patient, those with kidney stones or osteoporosis.


In older patients managed conservatively, hyperparathyroidism usually has no adverse effect on a patient`s life. The outlook for patient`s undergoing surgical removal of abnormal parathyroid glands is good. Patients are usually observed to ensure that the calcium levels and parathyroid hormone levels return to normal. Osteoporosis may also improve following surgery.

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