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NORD is very grateful to Dolores Shoback, MD, Professor of Medicine, UCSF Endocrine Research Unit - 111N, SF - VA Medical Center, for assistance in the preparation of this report.
Synonyms of Hypoparathyroidism
- No synonyms found.
- Acquired Hypoparathyroidism
- Autoimmune Hypoparathyroidism
- Congenital Hypoparathyroidism
- Idiopathic Hypoparathyroidism
Hypoparathyroidism is a rare condition in which the parathyroid glands fail to produce sufficient amounts of parathyroid hormone or the parathyroid hormone produced lacks biologic activity. The parathyroid glands are part of the endocrine system, the network of glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream where they travel to various areas of the body. These hormones regulate the chemical processes (metabolism) that influence the function of various organs and activities within the body. Hormones are involved in numerous vital processes including regulating heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure as well as cell differentiation and growth and also in modulation of several metabolic processes. Parathyroid hormone (along with vitamin D and the hormone calcitonin, which is produced by the thyroid gland) plays a role in regulating the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. Due to a deficiency of parathyroid hormone, individuals may exhibit abnormally low levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcemia) and high levels of phosphorus (hyperphosphatemia).
Hypocalcemia can cause a variety of symptoms including weakness, muscle cramps, excessive nervousness, headaches, and/or uncontrollable twitching and cramping spasms of certain muscles such as those of the hands, feet, arms, legs, and/or face (tetany). Numbness and tingling around the mouth and in the fingers and toes can also occur. The most common cause of hypoparathyroidism is damage to or removal of the parathyroid glands due to surgery for another condition. Hypoparathyroidism can also be caused by an autoimmune process or can occur for unknown reasons (idiopathic) or in association with a number of different underlying disorders.
In rare cases, hypoparathyroidism may occur as a genetic disorder. Such cases can include familial hypoparathyroidism, which may be inherited as an autosomal recessive, autosomal dominant or X-linked recessive trait. NORD has a separate report on familial isolated hypoparathyroidism.
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