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.
The parathyroid abnormalities causing primary hyperparathyroidism 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 grow from one or more of the parathyroid glands (extremely rare).
- Hyperplasia – This is the enlargement of all 4 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 release PTH to increase blood calcium levels, and abnormally low calcium levels will cause the parathyroid glands to release excessive PTH in an attempt to normalize blood calcium levels.
The health issues that cause secondary hyperparathyroidism 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.
Our TGH Parathyroid & Thyroid Institute surgeons have examined over 35,000 parathyroid glands combined and perform minimally invasive procedures to treat the causes of hyperparathyroidism. Tampa General Hospital is also recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's best hospitals and highest ranked in Florida for Ear, Nose & Throat.
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