Canberra parathyroid surgeon

So you have found out you have hyperparathyroidism ...

A high calcium level may be the first hint of a parathyroid issue

Most of the time a new diagnosis arises from a chance finding on a routine blood test ... the calcium is quite elevated

In a small proportion of cases the diagnosis is made from working backwards when a specific problem arises:

  • Developing kidney stones that cause severe pain
  • Marked osteoporosis is noted on x-rays or a bone density scan
  • Perhaps a bony fracture occurs unexpectedly reflecting weakened bone density
  • Rarely there may be a strong family history of hypercalcaemia (high calcium level in blood) that is caused by a known genetic mutation – termed Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia.
Learn about the diagnosis of parathyroid conditions  

Symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism

The symptoms of hyperparathyroidism can initially be very vague and therefore are not easily noticed early

Common symptoms include:

  • Feeling of tiredness / extreme lethargy
  • Muscle and soft tissue aches and pains
  • Various abdominal aches and pains sometimes mimicking peptic ulcer pain
  • Mental fogginess
  • Polyuria (passing lots of urine) due to increased calcium load in urine and eventual dehydration

Longer term effects after the disease is well established or not diagnosed include:

  • Kidney stones causing bad back pain or urinary obstruction / infection
  • Accelerated osteoporosis which can eventually lead to bone fractures from relatively trivial force (fragility fractures)
  • Wasting and debilitation
  • Some medical studies have shown that long term elevation in calcium levels can lead to an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease in general, affecting the heart and other major blood vessels and in the end contributes to a shortened lifespan.

Read the very interesting story of Captain Charles Martell


Charles Martell at about 22 years old. Original image from the Massachusetts General Hospital News, vol. 31, No. 9, November 1972.

An American ship Captain from Boston USA – one of the first well documented case studies of the events surrounding treatment of severe hyperparathyroidism.

Spence HM. The life and death of Captain Charles Martell and kidney stone disease. J Urol. 1984 Dec;132(6):1204-7. doi: 10.1016/s0022-5347(17)50098-1. PMID: 6389906.

Learn more about A/Prof A-J Collins at his website

For Canberra consultations, phone
  (02) 6282 1191

For Bega consultations, phone
  (02) 6491 9559

For any other enquiries, email

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