What is hypoparathyroidism?
Hypoparathyroidism is a rare disorder that impacts roughly 70,000 people in the United States. It involves the reduction or absence of parathyroid hormone (PTH), a hormone produced by the parathyroid glands.
This makes calcium levels in the blood fall and phosphorus levels rise, leading to many different symptoms and challenges that can range from tingling, burning, and cramping in a patient’s extremities which can quickly escalate without warning to tetany, and seizures. Over time patients with chronic hypoparathyroidism are at an increased risk of developing bone and soft tissue calcifications, kidney stones, cardiac issues, and kidney failure.
Because the condition is so rare, there is limited research on the patient experience, and only a small number of specialists are experienced in treating it. As a result, people diagnosed with hypoparathyroidism often struggle both medically with obtaining adequate medical care, and psychosocially with being supported and understood by family, friends, and colleagues.
To Learn More About Hypoparathyroidism:
Why do we call it HypoPara?
Often, people refer to the condition of hypoparathyroidism as “hypopara.” This is largely due to the common confusion between hypoparathyroidism and hypothyroidism, which is a different condition that impacts the thyroid gland and not the parathyroid glands.
When capitalized as Hypopara or HypoPara, it is often meant to refer to hypoparathyroidism within the context of identity, either for an individual (as in “I am a Hypopara patient”) or for a group (as in the HypoPara community). In these contexts, these capitalizations are typically interchangeable. It is within this context that we use these spellings within our organization, and here on our website.
Other alternate capitalizations used by some to describe either the condition or community and to distinguish it from hypothyroidism include HypoParathyroidism and HypoPARA.