Join a world-class health care system
Complete by Quick Pay, My Marshfield Clinic or mail
Find answers to health questions, symptoms and medications
Welcome our newest babies and view or share their first photos
Follow us in the news to see how we’re changing health care
Make a patient referral, access medical education and research
Find learning opportunities for students, residents and fellows
Learn about MCRI’s five research centers and scientific discoveries
Access appointments, medical records, bills and financial assistance
Learn about medical care in more than 80 specialties
Get wellness and healthy living advice every day
Support our mission with a gift or by attending an event
Use MC CARES for same day transfers and referrals
Access care and treatment for common ailments
Visit our gallery for a series of dynamic exhibitions
Quick Doctor Search
Type a condition, name, specialty, or location.
Select a specialty
The Marshfield Clinic family is committed to making a positive impact on our patients and our community. We are here every step of the way to support you in making the best decisions about your health and wellbeing, from research and prevention to diagnosis and treatment. So you won't only live your life, but shine.
Endocrinology (Diabetes and Metabolism) >
The parathyroid glands may become overactive and the result is hyperparathyroidism.
Hyperparathyroidism can lead to serious health problems.
Endocrinologists at Marshfield Clinic diagnose and treat conditions and diseases of the endocrine system.
Hyperparathyroidism occurs when 1 or more of your parathyroid glands are overactive. You have 4 of these tiny glands. Each one is about the size of a grain of rice. They are found in your neck, next to the thyroid gland. They keep the amount of calcium in your blood in a normal range. If these glands are overactive, they make too much parathyroid hormone (PTH). That raises the level of calcium in your blood.
PTH causes calcium to be released from your bones. This loss of calcium from the bones can lead to weak, brittle bones (osteopenia and osteoporosis), and bone fractures. When the blood with this high calcium goes through the kidneys, the calcium may be filtered into the urine. That can lead to kidney stones.
Hyperparathyroidism most often happens when one of your parathyroid glands gets larger or has a tumor on it. The gland then makes too much parathyroid hormone. Most people with this problem have 1 abnormal gland. Some people may have 2 abnormal glands. A small number of people have 4 abnormal glands. Having 4 abnormal glands is rare. It is often a genetic problem.
You may be more likely to have hyperparathyroidism if:
You are a woman who has already gone through menopause
You have a family history of related conditions
You have had radiation therapy on your head and neck
You have taken lithium, a medicine used to treat bipolar disorder
Each person may have symptoms in a different way. But these are the most common symptoms and signs:
Joint aches and pains
Belly (abdominal) pain
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Peptic ulcer disease
Urinating more than normal
These symptoms may look like other health problems. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
Your age, overall health, and past health
How sick you are
How well you can handle certain medicines, treatments, or therapies
How long the condition is expected to last
Your opinion or preference
Surgery. If your case is more severe, your parathyroid gland may need to be removed. Before surgery, you may have an imaging test to find out which gland is abnormal. You may have an ultrasound of the neck. Knowing which gland is abnormal will shorten the surgery. It will also allow the surgeon to make a smaller cut (incision) right over the abnormal gland.
No surgery. You may not need treatment if you have a mild case. But your healthcare provider will watch your condition to make sure it doesn’t get worse.
Medicines. Ask your healthcare provider about new medicines that may be available.
You will likely need to have your calcium levels and bone density checked from time to time. Your healthcare provider will then be able to make sure your problem is under control.
Hyperparathyroidism happens when 1 or more of your parathyroid glands are overactive. The glands make too much parathyroid hormone. That raises the level of calcium in your blood. It then lowers the calcium in your bones.
It most often happens when a parathyroid gland gets larger or has a tumor on it.
The loss of calcium from the bones can lead to weak, brittle bones (osteopenia and osteoporosis), and bone fractures.
A routine blood test can spot high levels of calcium.
The most common treatment is surgery. The abnormal gland is removed.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
Know the reason for your visit and what you want to happen.
Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis, and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you.
Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed, and how it will help you. Also know what the side effects are.
Ask if your condition can be treated in other ways.
Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
Know what to expect if you do not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.
If this is a medical emergency, call 911.
(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)
Take this quiz to find out how to cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Anyone age 45 or older should be tested for diabetes, says the NIDDK. Because your risk rises as you get older, talk with your healthcare provider about testing if you are 45 or older. If you are younger than 45, you should be tested if you are overweight and at least one of these describes you: