What is hypoparathyroidism?

Hypoparathyroidism is a rare condition that occurs when the parathyroid glands, located in your neck, do not make enough parathyroid hormone. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in bone and blood. With hypoparathyroidism, blood calcium levels fall (hypocalcemia), and phosphorus levels rise (hyperphosphatemia). Low blood calcium levels may cause symptoms such as tingling in the lips, fingers, and toes. It may also cause muscle cramps or spasms. Hypoparathyroidism may be either inherited or acquired (from injury to the glands or from surgery on the thyroid gland).
Risk factors
  • Family history of parathyroid disorder
  • Recent thyroid or neck surgery
  • Taking medications that suppress the parathyroid gland
  • Surgery or removal of the parathyroid gland
A diagnosis of hypoparathyroidism first involves a patient’s medical history and physical exam. In addition, blood tests are done to reveal abnormal levels of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, creatinine and intact parathyroid hormone. Urine tests can reveal if the body is excreting too much calcium. If tests show low levels of calcium flowing freely in the blood, inappropriately low PTH, and high phosphorus, hypoparathryroidism may be a diagnosis. 
Treatment options for hypoparathyroidism aim to normalize calcium and phosphorus levels in the body. Depending on the cause of your hypoparathyroidism, you'll likely need to take supplements for life.
  • Male and females are equally affected.
  • Affects approximately 70,000 people in the United States. 
  • Hypoparathyroidism can affect individuals of any age.
  • About 75% of cases, chronic hypoparathyroidism is caused by damage to or removal of the parathyroid glands during surgery of the thryroid, parathyroid, or adjacent neck structures. 
about hypoparathyroidism

  • "Hypoparathyroidism." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 05 May 2017. Web. 30 May 2017.
  • Shoback, Dolores. "Hypoparathyroidism." NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders). National Organization for Rare Disorders, 2017. Web. 30 May 2017.
  • "Hypoparathyroidism." Hypoparathyroidism | Johns Hopkins Medicine Health Library. Johns Hopkins Health System, n.d. Web. 30 May 2017.
  • "What Is Hypoparathyroidism?" Hypoparathyroidism – What Is It? | HypoparaAnswers.com. Shire US Inc., n.d. Web. 31 May 2017.
  • Ehrlich, Steven D. "Hypoparathyroidism." Hypoparathyroidism | University of Maryland Medical Center. University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), 2 Jan. 2013. Web. 30 May 2017.
  • "Hypoparathyroidism." Hypoparathyroidism | UCLA Endocrine Center. UCLA Health, n.d. Web. 30 May 2017.


Hypoparathyroidism occurs when an individual’s parathyroid glands produce too little parathyroid hormone (PTH). This leads to low blood calcium levels, and rising phosphorus blood levels. Symptoms vary depending on the cause, but usually involve involuntary muscle contractions and decreased nerve functioning. Check out this infographic to learn more about hypoparathyroidism:
hypoparathyroidism infographic

NOTE: The information on this page and any information found on healtheo360 is not a substitution for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, CALL 911 immediately. See additional information about our Terms & Conditions.