Tertiary Hyperparathyroidism occurs when Secondary Hyperparathyroidism goes untreated for too long. There may be continuing problems even when the original condition has been treated and calcium levels are back to normal.
This is because the over-used parathyroid glands can no longer switch off hormone production as they used to do when calcium was low, and carry on producing large amounts of parathyroid hormone.
This results in a high calcium level in your blood and is called Tertiary Hyperparathyroidism. It is mostly found in people with chronic kidney failure and sometime continues even after a kidney transplant.
The more severe symptoms of high calcium (hypercalcaemia) are present in Tertiary Hyperparathyroidism. These may include:
- confusion – difficulty thinking and speaking clearly
- muscle spasms, tremors.
- bone fractures
- irregular heart beat
- high blood pressure
- loss of consciousness
- coma and, very rarely, if not treated, death
This is usually by surgery to remove the overactive parathyroid glands. Sometimes, a small amount of one of the glands is transplanted into one of your forearms (where it is easily accessible) in the hope that this tissue will be enough to control calcium levels.