Primary hyperparathyroidism, which leads to the enlargement of at least one of the parathyroid glands, occurs in more than 85% of the cases because of a single benign adenoma (neoplasm of glandular epithelium). Other causes include genetic disorders and endocrine cancers such as pancreatic or pituitary cancers. Patients who have had head or neck radiation are also at increased risk. Secondary hyperparathyroidism occurs when a source for hypocalcemia occurs outside the parathyroid gland, thus stimulating the parathyroid glands to overproduce PTH. These conditions include chronic renal failure, rickets, vitamin D deficiency, and laxative abuse.

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