The parathyroid glands are four pea-sized glands. They are located next to the thyroid gland in the neck. The glands secrete the parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH regulates the level of calcium in the blood.

In hypoparathyroidism there is not enough PTH secreted. This causes very low levels of calcium in the blood. Low blood calcium is known as hypocalcemia.

Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands: Posterior (Back) View

© 2009 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.


Several factors are known to cause hypoparathyroidism, including:

  • Absence of the parathyroid glands at birth
  • Damage to the parathyroid glands by radiation
  • Drugs ( cimetidine , aluminium, doxorubicin )
  • Removal of the parathyroid glands
  • Underlying autoimmune disorders
  • Genetics
  • DiGeorge syndrome
  • Magnesium deficiency (due to alcoholism , malnutrition)
  • Autoimmune: polyglandular autoimmunity type 2 or autoimmune hypoparathyroidism
  • Other causes: metal (iron, magnesium, aluminium) overload, cancer , or infectious diseases (eg, HIV )

Risk Factors

The following factors increase your chance of developing hypoparathyroidism:

  • Thyroid or parathyroid surgery
  • Family history of hypoparathyroidism
  • Age: under 16 years old or over 40 years old


If you experience any of these, do not assume it is due to hypoparathyroidism. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your doctor.

  • Weakness
  • Muscle cramps or twitching
  • Pain
  • Difficulty with walking
  • Tingling around the mouth, fingers, and toes
  • Excessive nervousness
  • Loss of memory
  • Personality change or mood swings ( anxiety )
  • Blurred vision due to cataracts
  • Hoarseness
  • Thin, brittle nails
  • Dry and scaly skin
  • Seizures
  • Wheezing or shortness of breath
  • Symptoms similar to Parkinson's disease


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to specialist. Endocrinologist focus on hormone disorders.

Tests may include the following:

  • Blood tests—to measure calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin D, and/or PTH
  • Urine test—to measure calcium excretion
  • X-ray or CT scan of the skull and bones


Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

Calcium and Vitamin D Supplementation

Calcium and vitamin D will usually be taken indefinitely. They are often taken by mouth.

Calcium may be given by injection. This is done when immediate symptom relief is needed.


There are no guidelines for preventing this condition.