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The parathyroid glands are a set of four small glands located inside or near the thyroid gland. These glands produce parathyroid hormone (PTH), which regulates the amount of calcium and phosphorus in your blood. Hyperparathyroidism develops when one or more of your parathyroid glands produces too much PTH (hyper means over). When this happens, the amount of calcium in your blood rises. Some of this calcium is taken from your bones, potentially leaving them weaker and more prone to breaking.
Often, hyperparathyroidism has no symptoms, but some people experience symptoms including:
Many of these symptoms can be caused by viruses or other conditions. If you have symptoms, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor to identify the cause.
Your doctor can order a simple blood test to check your parathyroid hormone (PTH) level. A high level of PTH is the main sign of this condition.
Talk with your Mercy physician about the benefits and risks of your hyperparathyroidism treatment options. Together, you and your doctor can decide which approach is best to get your blood calcium back to normal. Depending on the severity of your hyperparathyroidism, treatment options may include the following.
If your calcium level is not too high and you have no symptoms of high calcium such as weak bones or kidney stones, you and your doctor may decide to monitor your condition. You may need regular check-ups including blood tests, bone density tests and urine tests to check your kidney function. If your hyperparathyroidism becomes more severe, you may need treatment.
If your hyperparathyroidism is causing health problems, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the parathyroid glands that are producing too much PTH.
If surgery is not an option for you, your doctor may prescribe medication to help lower your calcium levels or protect your bones. However, medication cannot cure hyperparathyroidism.
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