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What causes parathyroid glands to enlarge?

Joane Goodroe
Nursing

From Dr. James Norman of the Norman Parathyroid Clinic:  
Hyperparathyroidism occurs when one (or more) of the four parathyroid glands grows into a tumor and behaves inappropriately by constantly making excess parathyroid hormone regardless of the level of calcium. In other words, one of the parathyroid glands has lost its control mechanism and continues to make large amounts of parathyroid hormone without paying attention to how high the blood calcium is. Thus, even when the calcium level is high--when the parathyroid glands should not be making any hormone at all--one of the glands keeps making hormone. Why? Because one of the parathyroid glands has developed a benign tumor and has lost its inhibitions and controls.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.