Hypoparathyroidism is decreased production of hormones by the parathyroid glands, causing a low level of calcium in the blood. Body parts involved include the parathyroid glands in the neck, as well as the teeth and the blood (the blood affects all body tissues, especially the heart, blood vessels, bones, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, skin, and the central nervous system--including the brain, the coverings of the brain (meninges), and the spinal cord -- and peripheral nerves).
Appropriate health care includes:
Physician's monitoring of general condition and medications during the acute stage.
Self-care after diagnosis during the chronic stage.
Hospitalization for severe muscle spasms (occasional).
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSTingling fingertips.
Muscle tension and spasms in the hands and feet.
Spasms of the larynx and throat muscles, causing breathing difficulty.
Poor tooth development.
Mental retardation in children.
Psychosis in adults.
CAUSESComplication of surgery on the parathyroid glands, the thyroid glands, or other neck tissues.
Genetic autoimmune disorder (possibly).
Radiation of the thyroid gland.
Hemochromatosis (See Glossary).
Use of diuretic drugs.
Recent infection of any kind.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCENo specific preventive measures.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory blood and urine studies.
EKG (See Glossary).
X-rays of bones to detect increased bone density.
Special studies that may include ultrasonography, CAT or CT scan, MRI, and radionuclide scan (See Glossary for all).
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONSCataracts; brain damage; heartbeat abnormalities; congestive heart failure.
This condition is currently considered incurable. It requires lifelong replacement therapy to control symptoms. Without treatment, it is fatal. Scientific research continues, so there is hope for increasingly effective treatment and cure.
If muscle cramps start, place a paper bag over your child's mouth. The child should blow into it and rebreathe the air in the bag. This will raise carbon-dioxide levels in the blood and decrease muscle spasms.
Your child should apply lubricating creams or ointments to dry, scaling skin.
Keep the child's nails trimmed to prevent splitting.
MEDICATIONVitamin D and calcium supplements in high doses.
Intravenous calcium supplements during hospitalization for severe muscle spasms.
Sedatives and anti-convulsants for frequent muscle spasms.
Your doctor may prescribe:
DIET & FLUIDS
High calcium, low-phosphorous diet. Your doctor or dietitian will provide specific instructions.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When appetite has returned and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has unexplained muscle spasms of the hands, feet, or throat, or numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
Muscle spasms don't decrease in 1 week, despite treatment.