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Hypoparathyroidism is a condition in which the body secretes abnormally low levels of parathyroid hormone.  The hormone parathyroid is manufactured by the small oval-shaped parathyroid glands in the neck, next to the thyroid gland. Each of the four parathyroid glands is about the size of a pea.


Despite the similarity in names, the parathyroid glands are distinct from the thyroid gland, and have different functions in the body. Hypoparathyroidism occurs when the parathyroid glands don't secrete enough parathyroid hormone.


Symptoms may include:


  • tingling or burning in the fingertips, toes and lips
  • muscle aches or cramps
  • twitching or spasms of the muscles
  • fatigue or weakness
  • painful menstruation
  • patchy hair loss
  • thinning of the eyebrows
  • dry, course skin
  • anxiety or nervousness
  • headaches
  • depression and other mood changes

Causes may include:


  • hereditary hypoparathyroidism - either the parathyroid glands are not present at birth or they do not work properly. This inherited genetic disorder is passed to a child through a recessive gene.
  • acquired hypoparathyroidism - tends to develop after accidental damage to or removal of the parathyroid glands during surgery

Other causes may include:


  • extensive cancer radiation treatment of the face or neck
  • Low levels of magnesium in the blood
  • metabolic alkalosis – a condition in which there are chemical imbalances in the bloodstream

Treatment may include:


  • medication
  • Vitamin D
  • Dietary changes
  • hospitalization

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Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton Hamilton. Phone: 609-586-7900 Physician Referral: 609-584-5900.

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