Hyperparathyroidism is a condition in which there is too much parathyroid hormone in the bloodstream due to one (or more) of the body’s four parathyroid glands being overactive.

Overview and Symptoms

The parathyroid glands are located in your neck and are about the size of a grain of rice. The glands produce parathyroid hormone, which helps maintain an appropriate balance of calcium in the body.

There are two types of hyperparathyroidism. In primary hyperparathyroidism, one or more of the parathyroid glands is enlarged, causing overproduction of the hormone, which results in high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia). It can also be caused by a non-cancerous growth, or in rare cases, by a malignant tumor.

Secondary hyperparathyroidism occurs as a result of another disease that initially causes low levels of calcium in the body and over time, increased parathyroid hormone levels occur.

Common symptoms of hyperparathyroidism include:

  • osteoporosis
  • kidney stones
  • excessive urination
  • abdominal pain
  • fatigue/weakness
  • depression or forgetfulness
  • bone and joint pain


Surgery is the most common treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism and provides a cure in about 95 percent of all cases.

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The Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism provides expertise in diagnosing, treating and managing a range of endocrine disorders.