Hyperparathyroidism Causes

The causes of hyperparathyroidism are categorized based on whether they result in the development of primary or secondary hyperparathyroidism. Primary hyperparathyroidism occurs when abnormalities with one or more of the four parathyroid glands cause these glands to overproduce parathyroid hormone (PTH), leading to elevated blood calcium levels and decreased blood phosphorus levels. 

The parathyroid abnormalities that are primary hyperparathyroidism causes include the following:

  • Adenomas – These are noncancerous growths that form on one or more of the parathyroid glands, and they are the most common cause of primary hyperparathyroidism.
  • Cancer – Malignant tumors can form on one or more of the parathyroid glands.
  • Hyperplasia – This is the enlargement of two or more of the parathyroid glands.

Secondary hyperparathyroidism develops when other conditions decrease calcium levels in the body, causing the parathyroid glands to overproduce PTH. The parathyroid glands releases PTH to increase blood calcium levels and lower blood phosphorus levels, and abnormally low calcium levels will cause the parathyroid glands to release excessive PTH in attempt to normalize blood calcium levels. 

The health issues that are secondary hyperparathyroidism causes include:

  • Severe calcium deficiency – Insufficient dietary intake of calcium or the digestive system’s inability to digest calcium can cause abnormally low calcium levels in the body.
  • Severe vitamin D deficiency – The body needs adequate levels of vitamin D to maintain healthy calcium blood levels.
  • Chronic kidney failure – The kidneys produce usable vitamin D, and if they don’t function properly, the deficiency in vitamin D can lead to abnormally low calcium levels in the blood. 

Tampa General Hospital’s Parathyroid Center is the only center in the country that performs minimally invasive radioguided parathyroid (MIRP) surgery to treat the causes of hyperparathyroidism. We perform more than 2,500 surgeries annually to cure parathyroid disease, and we've been rated by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Hospitals for Diabetes & Endocrinology.