The parathyroid glands are small, pea-sized glands located beneath the thyroid gland in the neck. Any individual has four parathyroid glands, two of which are positioned behind each of the thyroid gland’s ‘wings.’ A laboratory test can determine the level of PTH in your blood. The typical range is 10 to 55 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL). Normal value ranges may change across labs due to differences in measurements or testing for various specimens.
How Do Parathyroid Glands Function?
The parathyroid glands in your neck constantly monitor and control the calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium levels in your blood. When the amounts of these minerals increase or decrease these four small glands produce the parathyroid hormone (PTH). In addition to bone health, the hormone plays an important role in nerve and muscle function.
The parathyroid hormone (PTH) influences how much calcium your bones release into your blood. In other words, your bones produce more calcium in your blood with a greater hormone concentration. However, when the parathyroid gland generates fewer hormones, the bones release less calcium.
The parathyroid hormone damage kidneys as well. It slows the amount of calcium and magnesium filtered into the urine from the blood. Parathyroid hormone also stimulates the kidneys to create calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D.
The parathyroid hormone performs the following functions:
- It causes calcium to be released from the bones into the circulation with blood.
- It promotes calcium absorption from the intestine into the blood.
- It prevents the kidneys from excreting calcium in the urine.
- It stimulates the kidneys to excrete phosphate in the urine.
- It raises magnesium levels in the blood.
Parathyroid Disease Signs and Symptoms
The parathyroid disease typically has no symptoms in its early stages. When symptoms arise, they may differ from one person to another. A normal blood calcium level caused by parathyroid abnormalities can cause brittle bones, kidney stones, weariness, weakness, and other problems.
Your symptoms, if any, will be determined by the kind of disease you have. Typical symptoms of the parathyroid illness include:
- Vomiting and nausea
- Appetite loss
- A sudden increase in blood calcium levels (hypercalcemia)
- Bone discomfort and fractures
- Tiredness and sleepiness
- Frequent urination may lead to dehydration and thirst.
- Stones in Kidney
- Difficulties with swallowing or speaking
- Weakness in Muscle
The distinction between Thyroid and Parathyroid
Thyroid and parathyroid have similar names, yet they have significant variances.
- They serve many purposes.
- Their surgical procedure is distinct.
- They are present in the location.
- They have various diseases and issues.
- Thyroid can lead to cancer, but parathyroid cancer is uncommon.
According to NCBI research, “parathyroid cancer remains a challenge for treatment due to its rarity.”
Parathyroid Disease’s Causes
The parathyroid glands must release calcium, and this delicate balance can be thrown off if they malfunction due to illness, injury, or other factors. The following are some of the most prevalent causes of parathyroid disease:
- Your Parathyroid Glands Have Been Damaged
This includes parathyroid gland injury caused by neck or thyroid surgery.
- Genetic Disorders
DiGeorge syndrome, a chromosomal genetic disorder, is the most prevalent genetic cause.
- Autoimmune Conditions
The immune system attacks your parathyroid glands in type 1 autoimmune polyglandular syndrome, resulting in persistent hypoparathyroidism.
- Magnesium Deficiency
Hypoparathyroidism can be caused by low magnesium levels (hypomagnesemia).
It is critical to understand that the thyroid and parathyroid glands are endocrine glands that create hormones. They create hormones that govern numerous metabolic processes. However, They do vary greatly. While the thyroid controls carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism, the parathyroid regulates calcium levels in the body.
Your doctor can evaluate your parathyroid hormone levels using a blood test. The blood sample is then submitted to a laboratory for examination. The normal range for the parathyroid hormone blood test known as “PTH, intact” is normally 15 to 65 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL).
For those suffering from parathyroid illness, there are several treatment options available. The conventional treatment for blood calcium abnormalities is the ENT surgical removal procedure of any damaged or dysfunctional parathyroid glands caused by primary hyperparathyroidism. People have four parathyroid glands, so missing one or two will have little effect. Similarly, calcium and active vitamin D supplements, in addition to a calcium-rich diet, are routinely used to treat hypoparathyroidism.
The hormone parathyroid hormone is essential for regulating blood calcium levels. If you are having hypercalcemia or hypocalcemia, such as muscular and cognitive dysfunction, you should consult your healthcare practitioner.