Here’s What You Should Know About Your Parathyroid Glands
Are your calcium levels below the margin? Hyperparathyroidism could be the reason. To understand this medical term, it is important to learn more about your parathyroid glands.
Parathyroid glands are four tiny glands located behind the thyroid gland in the neck. These glands secrete the parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH helps regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood.
Here are some things you should know about your parathyroid glands.
Problems with Parathyroid Glands
The most common symptoms of a problem with the parathyroid glands are abnormal calcium blood tests and low vitamin D levels.
Your doctor may suspect a problem with the parathyroid glands if you have one or more of these symptoms:
- bone pain or tenderness
- kidney stones (renal stones)
- muscle cramps and twitches
- heart palpitations (sudden fluttering in your chest)
- stabbing pains in your hands, feet, legs, or hips when you exercise [because they lose calcium]
You might feel thirsty all the time. You might go to the bathroom so often that it interferes with your daily activities. Or you may not be able to sleep through the night because you need to urinate so often.
Cause of Parathyroid Problems
A tumor causes most parathyroid problems on one of the glands. Minor cases are caused by too much or too little PTH. Parathyroid tumors are usually benign (not cancerous), but they can cause serious health problems if not treated.
The most common treatment for a parathyroid tumor is surgery to remove the tumor. If you’re having surgery to remove a parathyroid tumor, your doctor will need to know the size and location of the tumor before the surgery begins.
After surgery, you may need to take calcium and vitamin D supplements to make up for the lost calcium when the tumor is removed.
Most people who have surgery to remove a parathyroid tumor can go home the same day. Recovery time after surgery is usually short. You should be able to resume your normal activities within a few days.
If you’re having problems with your parathyroid glands, it’s essential to see a doctor who specializes in treating these problems. Parathyroid disorders can be challenging to diagnose and treat, so it’s essential to work with a doctor who has experience with these conditions.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, talk to your doctor about whether you might have a problem with your parathyroid glands. Early diagnosis and treatment are the keys to preventing serious health problems.
How Can Your Doctor Test for Parathyroid Problems?
Your doctor can check for parathyroid problems with a blood test to measure your calcium levels.
Generally, if your calcium level is low, it is an indication that you might have a problem with the parathyroid glands. Conversely, if it’s high, you probably do not have a problem with the parathyroid glands. Your doctor may also order one of several tests used to determine if there is cancer in your body.
According to a 2016 medical survey, out of 1,09,583 cases of primary hyperparathyroidism, around 55.4 percent of patients were younger than 65 years of age.
If you have trouble sleeping because you need to go to the bathroom so often overnight, this could be a sign that your bones and kidneys aren’t working correctly. After all, these organs depend on calcium and phosphorus (a chemical found in many foods) to do their jobs.
When the levels of these minerals get too high or too low, it can cause problems with how well the organs work.
Bone pain is a common symptom of a problem with the parathyroid glands. If you have bone pain, it’s important to tell your doctor so they can order some tests to find out what’s causing the pain.
It’s possible that you have a tumor on one of your parathyroid glands or that you’re not getting enough calcium in your diet. If you’re not consuming enough calcium, it’s possible that the bones could become weak and brittle (a condition called osteoporosis).
Headaches are another common symptom of a problem with your parathyroid glands. If you notice that you often have headaches or migraines, tell your doctor so they can do some tests to find out what’s causing the pain.
Your doctor will probably want to check for problems with your parathyroid glands by doing a blood test to measure your calcium levels. They might also order a CT scan to get a better idea of what’s going on inside your head.
If you think your calcium levels are too high or too low, you should see a doctor who has experience diagnosing and treating people with these conditions.
Parathyroid disorders can be difficult to diagnose and treat. So, you must work with a doctor who understands these complex conditions and is well aware of how to treat them.