The Parathyroid Glands
The 4 parathyroid glands are located on the back of the thyroid gland. They are tiny and measure only 3-5 mm or the same size as a grain of rice. They make a hormone called parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH increases the amount of calcium in your bloodstream by dissolving calcium from your bones, encouraging your kidneys to conserve calcium and helping your bowels to absorb more calcium from your diet.
There are 2 problems that we see associated with your parathyroid glands.
Overactivity of the parathyroid glands causes a rise in the calcium level in the bloodstream along with a rise in the PTH level.
What are the symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism
The “classic” symptoms of hyperparathyroidism are:
Not everyone will have all of these symptoms and for many patients these days the diagnosis is made by finding a high calcium level on a routine blood test. The main concerns are the longterm effects of Hyperparathyroidism on the bones and the kidneys. Untreated it can cause significant thinning of the bones (osteopaenia) and kidney damage secondary to kidney stones.
Types of Hyperparathyroidism
How is Hyperparathroidism Diagnosed?
How is Hyperparathyroidism treated?
A/Prof McGuinness is an expert in the treatment of hyperparathyoidism. Adenomas or carcinomas are removed surgically. Cases with 4 gland hyperplasia are best treated with removal of 3 ½ glands. Renal Hyperparathyroidism (Secondary or Tertiary) are treated following careful discussion with the treating Renal Physician. Many renal patients will initially be treated with medicines such as Cinacalcet to lower their blood calcium levels.