The four parathyroid glands in your neck are amazing little regulators. With a little help from vitamin D, they draw more calcium into your bloodstream when you need it. And they let it go back into your bones or out through your kidneys when you have too much. It’s a very specific job, but one that affects everything from your blood pressure and bone health to your energy level and mood.
Sometimes, however, one or more of the parathyroid glands becomes overactive. It releases too much parathyroid hormone (PTH) into your bloodstream. The excess PTH draws more calcium into the blood than you need, more calcium than is healthy for your body. This condition is called hyperparathyroidism, and it can lead to everything from chronic fatigue and depression to high blood pressure, kidney stones, bone loss, and even more serious health risks.
The symptoms of hyperparathyroidism can be subtle, and they sometimes take a long time to show up. Fortunately, today we can detect hyperparathyroidism much earlier. The first sign that something is wrong is usually a routine blood test that reveals a high calcium level. When your blood work shows a high calcium level, we do a follow-up test of your PTH level. If your PTH level is also high, you almost certainly have hyperparathyroidism.