ID: 252
Category: Endocrinology
CreatedBy: 1
UpdatedBy: 1
createdon: 24 May 2023
updatedon: 24 May 2023

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Author: Khoa Tran
Published May 24, 2023
Updated May 24, 2023

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Etymology and Pronunciation

Hypoparathyroidism (hypo-par-a-thy-roid-ism)
hypo- - Greek prefix for "under" or "below normal"
parathyroid - Small endocrine glands in the neck of humans and other tetrapods existing next to the thyroid.
para- - Greek prefix for "beside" or "near"
thyroid - The thyroid, or thyroid gland, is an endocrine gland in vertebrates
-ism - Suffix. Indicates a specific condition or state

History of Hypoparathyroidism

The discovery of Hypoparathyroidism was made possible by the development of the microscope and the identification of the parathyroid glands themselves. 

In the late 19th century, scientists began conducting autopsies on deceased individuals to better understand the anatomy of the parathyroid glands. 

In the 1930s and 1940s, researchers began using radioisotope techniques to study the functioning of the parathyroid glands. These techniques enabled scientists to track the movement of radioactive calcium through the body and measure the activity of the parathyroid glands.

Modern Understanding of Hypoparathyroidism

Hypoparathyroidism is a health condition that affects the parathyroid glands. These are small glands located near the thyroid gland in the neck. When these glands do not produce enough parathyroid hormone, it can lead to a range of symptoms.

One of the main symptoms of hypoparathyroidism is low calcium levels in the blood. This can cause muscle cramps, twitches, and spasms, particularly in the face, hands, and feet. Other symptoms may include a tingling sensation in the fingers or lips and fatigue.

While hypoparathyroidism is a rare condition, it can affect people of any age, from children to seniors. In children, it may cause developmental delays or seizures. In adults, it can lead to kidney problems or cataracts in the eyes.

If you or someone you know has symptoms of hypoparathyroidism, it is important to see a healthcare provider. A diagnosis can be made with blood tests and imaging scans. While there is no cure for hypoparathyroidism, treatment can help manage symptoms and prevent complications.

Causes of Hypoparathyroidism

- Congenital Hypoparathyroidism: This form of hypoparathyroidism is present from birth and is often caused by genetic factors or abnormalities during fetal development.
- Autoimmune Disease: In some cases, the immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the parathyroid glands, leading to hypoparathyroidism. Autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 1 (APS-1) and autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 2 (APS-2) are examples of autoimmune conditions associated with hypoparathyroidism.
- Surgical Removal of Parathyroid Glands: If the parathyroid glands are accidentally removed or damaged during thyroid surgery or other neck surgeries, it can result in hypoparathyroidism.
- Radiation Therapy: Treatment involving radiation to the neck or head area, such as radiation therapy for cancer, can damage the parathyroid glands and cause hypoparathyroidism.
- DiGeorge Syndrome: This genetic disorder, also known as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, is characterized by the deletion of a small piece of chromosome 22. It can lead to the underdevelopment or absence of the parathyroid glands, resulting in hypoparathyroidism.
- Magnesium Deficiency: Low levels of magnesium in the body can disrupt the production and release of parathyroid hormone, leading to hypoparathyroidism.
- Other Rare Causes: Hypoparathyroidism can be caused by rare conditions such as infiltrative disorders (e.g., Wilson's disease, hemochromatosis), certain medications (e.g., magnesium sulfate, anti-cancer drugs), or inherited metabolic disorders (e.g., autoimmune polyendocrine syndrome type 1, Sanjad-Sakati syndrome).

Treatments for Hypoparathyroidism

Hypoparathyroidism is a rare condition that occurs when the parathyroid glands in the neck are underactive and do not produce enough parathyroid hormone (PTH). This can result in low levels of calcium in the blood and high levels of phosphorus.

The main goal of treatment for hypoparathyroidism is to increase calcium levels and keep phosphorus levels in a normal range. This can be done through a combination of medications and lifestyle changes.

Medications that are commonly used to treat hypoparathyroidism include calcium supplements, such as calcium carbonate or calcium citrate. Vitamin D supplements, such as calcitriol or alfacalcidol, may also be prescribed to help the body absorb calcium. In severe cases, intravenous calcium may be necessary.

In addition to medication, lifestyle changes can help manage hypoparathyroidism. Patients are encouraged to eat foods that are rich in calcium and low in phosphorus, such as dairy products, leafy green vegetables, and fortified products. Regular exercise and weight-bearing activities can also help strengthen bones and prevent fractures.

In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged or infected parathyroid glands. This is typically only done if medications and lifestyle changes are not effective at managing symptoms.


Muscle cramps
Numbness in fingers and toes
Muscle or body aches
Muscle Weakness
Skin dryness
Lack of energy
Brittle nails
Hair loss

Confirmation Tests

- Blood test (for calcium Levels)
- Blood test (for Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) Level)
- Urinalysis (for calcium)
- Electrocardiogram (ECG)
- Genetic testing