Other names: Parathormone, Intact Parathyroid Hormone
Parathyroid hormone (PTH) helps the body maintain stable levels of calcium in the blood. It is part of a feedback loop that includes calcium, PTH, vitamin D, and, to some extent, phosphorus (phosphate) and magnesium. Conditions and diseases that disrupt this feedback loop can cause inappropriate elevations or decreases in calcium and PTH levels and lead to symptoms of hypercalcemia or hypocalcemia.
PTH is made by four tiny parathyroid glands in your neck. These glands control calcium levels in your blood. When calcium levels are too low, the glands release PTH to bring the calcium levels back up into a normal range. When your calcium levels rise, the glands stop releasing PTH.
Measuring PTH can help explain the reason for abnormal calcium levels.
If your test shows you have a lower than normal level of PTH, it may mean you have:
- An overdose of vitamin D or calcium
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If your test shows you have a higher than normal level of PTH, it may mean you have:
- A benign (noncancerous) tumor of the parathyroid gland
- Kidney disease
- A vitamin D deficiency
- A disorder that makes you unable to absorb calcium from food
Symptoms of high parathyroid hormone levels:
Since parathyroid hormone (PTH) mainly controls the amount of calcium in your blood, which has several important functions, the symptoms you’ll experience from high PTH levels are actually symptoms of high blood calcium levels.
Symptoms of high blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia) include:
- Joint pain and bone pain.
- More frequent urination and thirst.
- Muscle aches, weakness, cramping and/or twitches
- Depression and/or memory loss.
- Decrease in appetite.
- Nausea and vomiting.
Note: If you experience these symptoms of hypercalcemia, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider.
Hyperparathyroidism is an excess of parathyroid hormone in the bloodstream due to overactivity of one or more of the body's four parathyroid glands. These glands are about the size of a grain of rice and are located in your neck.
The parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone, which helps maintain an appropriate balance of calcium in the bloodstream and in tissues that depend on calcium for proper functioning.
Two types of hyperparathyroidism exist. In primary hyperparathyroidism, an enlargement of one or more of the parathyroid glands causes overproduction of the hormone, resulting in high levels of calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause a variety of health problems. Surgery is the most common treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism.
Secondary hyperparathyroidism occurs as a result of another disease that initially causes low levels of calcium in the body and over time, increased parathyroid hormone levels occur.
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