The parathyroid glands are very small glands “near” (meaning of “para”) the thyroid gland but have a totally different function from the thyroid gland. There are usually 4 parathyroid glands which make parathyroid hormone that function – along with vitamin D – to regulate blood calcium levels. The glands do this by using the bones and kidneys to maintain tight blood calcium level for good function of the heart, muscle, bone, kidney and brain.
Routine testing commonly reveals abnormalities in the blood calcium levels. This should start the process of understanding underlying issue which may include abnormal parathyroid hormone levels. Different causes of abnormal parathyroid hormone levels then require comprehensive testing to get to the root problem in each patient.
Following the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, or The Endocrine Society guidelines for the appropriate approach to treatment of parathyroid disease can lead to successful diagnosis and treatment. Endocrinologists are specialists trained to direct this path to successful outcomes.