Case-control study on symptoms and signs of "asymptomatic" primary hyperparathyroidism

Surgery. 1998 Dec;124(6):980-5; discussion 985-6.


Background: Symptoms, signs, and treatment of mild primary hyperparathyroidism (HPT) are controversial.

Methods: One hundred two patients with HPT and matched controls were recruited from 5202 females attending population-based mammography screening at age 55 to 75 years. Patients' total serum calcium averaged 10.40 +/- 0.564 mg/dL and intact serum parathyroid hormone 58 +/- 33 ng/L. All patients lacked knowledge of their disease. Questions revealed traditional symptoms of HPT in 24% of cases and 43% of controls (P = .01). All individuals underwent the same biochemical analyses, bone mass determination, and questionnaires on symptoms, illnesses, medications, and background variables.

Results: Patients with HPT had more psychic complaints (P = .03 to .007) of lassitude, fatigue, irritability, and lack of sexual and emotional interests. They had lower bone density in total body, spine, and hip (P = .008 to .0004) and higher serum alkaline phosphatase, cholesterol (very-low-density lipoprotein), triglycerides (total, very-low-density lipoprotein), glucose, urate, and hemoglobin values (P = .02 to .0001). Patients visited physicians more often (P = .008) and had more antihypertensive therapy (P = .02).

Conclusions: Mild, "asymptomatic" HPT in patients unaware of their disorder displays significant psychic symptoms, bone loss, and risk factors of cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone Density
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperparathyroidism / blood
  • Hyperparathyroidism / diagnosis*
  • Middle Aged