Overactivity of the parathyroid glands, usually from a tumor, causes a high level of calcium in the blood. Because this calcium is obtained from the bones, there is also degeneration of the skeleton and bone pain. A common side effect is the development of kidney stones from the high levels of circulating calcium.
Damage to the parathyroids or their surgical removal, as during thyroid surgery, results in a decrease in blood calcium levels. This causes numbness and tingling in the arms and legs and around the mouth (perioral), as well as tetany (muscle spasms). Treatment consists of supplying calcium.
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