What is Hyperparathyroidism?

At Texas Diabetes & Endocrinology, our board-certified endocrinology experts treat a number of endocrinological conditions including diabetes and thyroid disease. We also treat some less common hormone-related conditions such as hyperparathyroidism causing hypercalcemia.

What is hypercalcemia?

Hypercalcemia is caused by above normal calcium levels in your blood. Excess calcium in the blood can lead to weakened bones or osteoporosis, kidney stones or kidney failure, and even heart issues such as arrhythmia.  

What are some common symptoms of hypercalcemia?

Hypercalcemia is typically caught early as part of a routine blood test. However, long-term hypercalcemia can cause issues in the body near the region where the blood is most concentrated with calcium. Examples of some common hypercalcemia symptoms and associated areas include: 

  • Frequent urination or excessive thirst (kidneys)
  • Upset stomach, nausea, vomiting or constipation (digestive system)
  • Sore bones and muscles (skeletal and muscular systems)
  • Confusion, depression or fatigue (the brain)
  • Palpitations or arrhythmia/irregular heartbeat (the heart and circulatory system)

What causes hypercalcemia? 

Hypercalcemia can be caused by overactive parathyroid glands (hyperparathyroidism) or a parathyroid tumor. Other contributing factors that may potentially lead to hypercalcemia are:

  • Certain cancers like lung or breast cancer, or any cancer that has spread to the bones
  • Genetics and a family history of hypercalcemia 
  • Diseases such as tuberculosis that can elevate vitamin D levels in the blood and lead to more calcium absorption in the body
  • Dehydration
  • Certain medications or overuse of  calcium or vitamin D supplements 
  • A sedentary lifestyle causing bones to weaken, break down, and secrete calcium into the bloodstream

After a confirmed hypercalcemia diagnosis, your provider may recommend additional imaging tests to examine your parathyroid glands to determine if hyperparathyroidism is causing hypercalcemia. 

How is hyperparathyroidism treated? 

For mild cases of hyperparathyroidism,  our endocrinologists may recommend close monitoring and limiting supplemental calcium. 

For more advanced cases, surgical removal of the parathyroid glands may be necessary. Typically, only one of the four parathyroid glands are affected but all four could be involved.

Contact Us to Help Manage your Hyperparathyroidism 

If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Texas Diabetes & Endocrinology and discover how our diabetes services  and other endocrinology therapies can help you lead a full and active life, please contact us at (512) 458-8400 or request an appointment online.  

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.