What is hyperparathyroidism?
Hyperparathyroidism is a condition where the parathyroid glands make too much parathyroid hormone. This causes increased levels of calcium in the blood. Hyperparathyroidism is rare in children, but children may have more severe symptoms than adults.
If left untreated, hyperparathyroidism may lead to:
- osteoporosis and osteomalacia (bone-weakening diseases)
- kidney stones
- muscle weakness
What are the symptoms of hyperparathyroidism?
While each child may experience symptoms differently, some of the most common include:
- kidney pain (due to kidney stones)
- bone pain
- aches and pains
- abdominal pain
- chronic fatigue
- excessive urination
- muscle weakness
The symptoms of hyperparathyroidism may resemble other conditions or medical problems, so always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.
What are the causes of hyperparathyroidism?
In many cases, the cause of hyperparathyroidism is not known. Sometimes, hyperparathyroidism may be caused by:
- not getting enough calcium or vitamin D in the diet
- losing too much calcium in the urine
- a condition that causes problems absorbing nutrients from food
- kidney failure
How is it diagnosed?
The first step in diagnosis is a complete medical history and physical examination. Your child's doctor may also order bone x-rays or blood or urine tests.
What are the treatment options for hyperparathyroidism?
The type of treatment you child needs for hyperparathyroidism may depend on the severity of the condition and its cause.
If your child has a low level of vitamin D, they may need to take vitamin D supplements.
Some children may need surgery to remove the parathyroid gland.
How we care for hyperparathyroidism
At Boston Children's Hospital, we treat hyperparathyroidism in our Division of Endocrinology, which is dedicated to the treatment of a wide range of endocrinological disorders.