Parathyroid disorders are not as uncommon as once believed. Both hyper- and hypoparathyroidism are more prevalent in women, but for different reasons. The female preponderance seen in primary hyperparathyroidism may be pathogenically linked, as it is more common after menopause. By contrast, higher prevalence of hypoparathyroidism in women is related to thyroid surgery, which is performed more frequently in women; thus the female to male ratio of hyper- and hypoparathyroidism is about 3:1 and 4:1 respectively. For similar reasons, the mean age of patients with hypoparathyroidism, on average, is a decade lower than that of patients with primary hyperparathyroidism. Furthermore, primary hyperparathyroidism is the third most common endocrine disorder after diabetes and thyroid disorders, but the prevalence of hypoparathyroidism is about 34 fold lower than that of primary hyperparathyroidism. Current epidemiological data is reasonable for primary hyperparathyroidism, but inadequate for hypoparathyroidism. Further concerted efforts should be undertaken to better define the distribution, determinants and disease burden of both disorders in order to prioritize practice guidelines, disease management strategies, and research agendas.
Keywords: Primary hyperparathyroidism; epidemiology; hypoparathyroidism; incidence; normocalcemic hyperparathyroidism; prevalence.
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