What is hypoparathyroidism?

Hypoparathyroidism is a rare disease which occurs when the secretion or action of parathyroid hormone is inadequate, so blood calcium drops while phosphorus levels rise.

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What are the causes?

The causes of hypoparathyroidism can be acquired or congenital. Acquired hypoparathyroidism in adults usually occurs:

  • after surgery to remove the thyroid (thyroidectomy) or parathyroid glands, or
  • after radiation therapy to the neck for head or neck cancer.
  • Less common causes are autoimmune diseases that lead to destruction of the parathyroid glands.
  • Genetic Syndromes
  • Infiltrative diseases such as hemochromatosis
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How is hypoparathyroidism diagnosed?

Hypoparathyroidism is diagnosed through blood tests, physical examination and history taking. Genetic causes need further investigation by imaging and genetic testing.

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What are the Symptoms and Signs of Hypoparathyroidism?

The symptoms and signs of hypoparathyroidism can range from minimal to very severe and can be life-threatening.

  • Burning or tingling feeling (pins and needles) in the fingertips and/or toes or around the lips
  • Muscle cramps of the legs, face or stomach
  • Muscle spasms mainly around the mouth, but also at the hands and neck
  • Fatigue, Weakness
  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Patchy hair loss
  • Scaly, coarse and dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Depression, anxiety
  • Cataract
  • Kidney Dysfunction
  • Laryngospasm
  • Seizure
  • Tetany
  • Arrhythmia
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Which are the complications of Hypoparathyroidism?

Complications are divided into acute, due to a sudden drop in calcium in the blood:

  • Burning or tingling sensation in the fingertips and/or toes or around the lips
  • Muscle cramps in the legs, face or stomach
  • Muscle spasms mainly around the mouth, but also in the hands and neck
  • Laryngospasm
  • Seizure
  • Tetany
  • Arrhythmia
  • Hypotension
  • Heart failure

And chronic, associated with the deposition of calcium in the tissues:

  • Calcium deposition in the brain – Gait and balance disturbances
  • Developmental delay in children
  • Dental hypoplasia
  • Cataract
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Treatment of Hypoparathyroidism

Treatment of hypoparathyroidism consists of calcium supplementation and active vitamin D in order to maintain normal calcium levels and avoid acute and chronic complications of the disease. In poorly controlled cases with complications and/or high doses of calcium, human parathyroid hormone is administered.

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Why us? Our experience in large and organized centres abroad, where rare and frequent diseases of the parathyroid glands are systematically treated, enables us to provide solutions to complex and complicated problems of patients with such diseases.