There are common questions that we can answer about all health topics, such as "What is it?" and "How many people are affected." Answers to these questions are found under Condition Information. Each health topic frequently has specific questions that pertain only to that topic. We have answered those in this section.
What are possible complications of hypoparathyroidism?
If hypoparathyroidism is untreated in children, it can cause stunted growth, poorly formed teeth, and developmental disabilities. It also can cause breathing problems, cataracts, and muscle, ligament, and nervous disorders. Another potential problem is osteomalacia (pronounced os-tee-oh-muh-LEY-shuh), which can lead to broken bones.1,2
In some cases, treatment can lead to problems. Too much replacement of calcium and vitamin D can cause high blood calcium (a condition called hypercalcemia) and kidney problems.1
Hypoparathyroidism also increases a patient’s risk of Addison’s disease, pernicious anemia, and Parkinson’s disease.3 Addison’s disease is a disorder that occurs when the small adrenal glands above the kidneys do not produce enough of certain hormones, which then causes other problems. Pernicious anemia is a condition in which the body does not get enough vitamin B12, which in turn means that it cannot make enough healthy red blood cells.4 Parkinson’s disease is a condition in which certain brain nerves do not work properly, and problems like trembling and unstable walking can develop.5
What is osteomalacia?
When the body does not have enough calcium—the main consequence of hypoparathyroidism—bones become soft and can break easily. This condition is called osteomalacia. Besides broken bones, osteomalacia can also lead to pain in the pelvis, spine, and limbs.6
What is pseudo-hypoparathyroidism?
Hypoparathyroidism results in inadequate levels of the parathyroid hormone (PTH), usually because the glands that produce it are injured or removed. In pseudo-hypoparathyroidism, PTH levels are normal, but the body does not respond to the hormone properly. This problem can cause such symptoms as headaches, lack of energy, and blurred vision and perhaps lead to the symptoms of hypoparathyroidism.7
- University of Maryland Medical Center. (2011). Hypoparathyroidism. Retrieved June 22, 2012, from http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/hypoparathyroidism-000091.htm [top]
- Hypoparathyroidism (HPTH) UK. (2012). Osteomalacia. Retrieved June 22, 2012, from http://hpth.org.uk/hpth.php?id=160 [top]
- National Library of Medicine. (2011). Addison’s disease. Retrieved June 22, 2012, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000378.htm [top]
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. (2011). What is pernicious anemia? Retrieved June 22, 2012, from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/prnanmia [top]
- National Library of Medicine. (2012). Parkinson’s disease. Retrieved June 22, 2012, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/parkinsonsdisease.html [top]
- National Library of Medicine. (2010). Osteomalacia. Retrieved June 22, 2012, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000376.htm [top]
- Shoback, D. (2008). Hypoparathyroidism. New England Journal of Medicine, 359, 391-403. [top]