Hypoparathyroidism in Children
Hypoparathyroidism is when the parathyroid glands don’t make enough
parathyroid hormone. The parathyroid glands are 4 tiny glands on the thyroid. The
hormone they make helps manage levels of calcium in the bloodstream. Low levels of
hormone lead to low levels of calcium. This can lead to muscle spasms and cramping,
Causes can include:
- Accidental removal of part or all of a parathyroid gland during thyroid surgery
- A baby born without parathyroid glands
In some cases, the cause is unknown.
A child is at risk for
hypoparathyroidism if they have any of these:
- Previous surgery on the neck or thyroid gland
- An autoimmune disease
- Family history of hypoparathyroidism
- Preterm birth
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They can include:
- Numbness around the mouth or in hands or feet
- Uncontrollable, painful spasms of the face, hands, arms, and feet
- Low blood pressure
- Unstable emotions, anxiety, or depression
- Dental problems
- Coarse, brittle hair
The symptoms of hypoparathyroidism
can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees their healthcare provider
for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and
health history. They may also ask about your family’s health history. Your child will
have a physical exam. Blood tests will likely be done to measure the levels of salts
parathyroid hormone in the blood.
Your child's healthcare
provider will consider the child's age, overall health, and other factors when advising
treatment. Your child may need to see a pediatric endocrinologist. This is a provider
with extra training in treating children with hormone problems.
Treatment may include calcium given
through an IV. This can give relief of symptoms right away. Your child may also need
take calcium and vitamin D supplements for life.
If untreated, the condition can
cause serious complications, such as:
- Uncontrollable, painful muscle spasms
- Kidney damage
- Heart failure
- Stunted growth
- Dental defects
Hypoparathyroidism after neck surgery may go away on its own. But it
is usually a lifelong condition. Work with your child's healthcare providers to create
an ongoing plan to manage your child’s condition.
When to Call a Healthcare Provider
Call your child's healthcare provider if your child has any symptoms of hypoparathyroidism.
- Hypoparathyroidism is when the
parathyroid glands don’t make enough parathyroid hormone. The hormone manages levels
of calcium in the bloodstream. Low levels of the hormone lead to low levels of
- Symptoms can include uncontrollable, painful spasms of the face, hands, arms, and
- The condition can be caused by
accidental removal of part or all of a parathyroid gland during thyroid
- Your child will likely have blood
tests. These are done to measure the levels of salts and parathyroid hormone in the
- Treatment may include IV calcium. This
can give relief of symptoms right away. Your child may also need to take calcium and
vitamin D supplements for life.
- Hypoparathyroidism after neck surgery
may go away on its own. But it is usually a lifelong condition.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- 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 for your child.
- Know why a new medicine or treatment
is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects
- Ask if your child’s 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 your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose
for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important
if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.