Hypoparathyroidism is caused by underactive parathyroid glands. Underactive parathyroid glands do not produce enough parathyroid hormones. This causes low levels of calcium in the bloodstream. The low levels of calcium lead to tetany, an increased excitability of the nerves.
Causes of hypoparathyroidism include accidental removal of a parathyroid gland when the thyroid is removed, or when part of the parathyroid tissue is removed during surgery. Other causes include absent parathyroid glands from birth or the sudden stop of functioning due to unknown reasons (idiopathic). It is often associated with cardiac defects, such as DiGeorge syndrome.
The following are the most common symptoms of hypoparathyroidism. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- uncontrollable, painful spasms of the face, hands, arms, and feet
The symptoms of hypoparathyroidism may resemble other problems or medical conditions. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for hypoparathyroidism may include blood tests to measure the parathyroid hormone levels.
Specific treatment for hypoparathyroidism will be determined by your child's physician based on:
- your child's age, overall health, and medical history
- extent of the disease
- your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- expectations for the course of the disease
- your opinion or preference
Treatment may include an injection of calcium to provide immediate relief of symptoms and/or your child taking calcium and vitamin D tablets for the rest of his/her life.
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