Feeling tired all the time? It is hard for you to stay awake during the day? Do you feel fatigued, experience constipation, or have a lack of energy lately? If so, you should consider seeing an endocrinologist to get your parathyroid glands examined. Below we’ve answered the top questions about parathyroid disease and hyperparathyroidism including the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options.

What are the parathyroid glands?

Most people are born with four parathyroid glands that are located in the neck behind the thyroid. Parathyroid glands are in charge of producing the parathyroid hormone that controls the calcium levels for your entire body. It’s responsible for giving you energy and fuel for your cells. If an individual’s parathyroid hormone (PTH) is high, Hyperparathyroidism can develop due to high calcium in the blood.

Why is hyperparathyroidism and/or high calcium in your blood a concern?

High calcium or high PTH in your blood can cause a wide range of symptoms from weakening your bones, which puts you at risk for osteoporosis, to affecting how your heart and brain work.

What are some signs and symptoms of hyperparathyroidism?

Hyperparathyroidism (or hypercalcemia) can be asymptomatic, can cause mild symptoms, or in rare cases severe symptoms. The majority of patients discover Hyperparathyroidism from routine blood tests.

Below are a few symptoms for high calcium or PTH levels:

How is hyperparathyroidism diagnose?

Hyperparathyroidism is a hormone disorder that is diagnosed by looking at the calcium and parathyroid levels in your blood.

Once a diagnosis of primary hyperparathyroidism has been made, an Endocrine surgeon will evaluate you for parathyroid surgery, using parathyroid Imaging. Imaging always includes an in office ultrasound, and a 3D parathyroid CT scan if a single, enlarged parathyroid gland is not seen on ultrasound.

The Saint John’s Cancer Institute is one of only a few institutions in the greater Los Angeles area that can perform a special 3D parathyroid CT scan, which is the newest, most up-to-date technology to help locate abnormal parathyroid glands.

What are the treatment options for hyperparathyroidism?

The only cure for hyperparathyroidism is parathyroid surgery, with surgical removal of one or more parathyroid tumors (parathyroidectomy).

Some of the benefits to having parathyroid surgery include:

  • Improved bone density and decreased risk of bone fractures (stabilization of osteoporosis)
  • Lower risk of kidney stones (up to 90 percent of patients do not develop any new stones)
  • Decreased risk of premature death for patients with cardiovascular disease
  • Improved quality of life and disappearance or improvement of symptoms (for those with symptoms)

The Saint John’s Cancer Institute is the only location in Southern California that has a highly experienced medical parathyroid Endocrinologist working side by side with an expert parathyroid surgeon. We are a one-stop-clinic for your parathyroid diagnosis, symptoms and treatment options. We’re with you from diagnosis through cure and have a team approach for better outcomes.

Schedule an appointment today to receive personalized, full care, from our experts.

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Interested in learning more?

Watch a short video of Dr. Goldfarb explaining Parathyroid and Hyperparathyroidism

About the Author

Dr. Melanie Goldfarb

Dr. Melanie Goldfarb is a fellowship-trained endocrine surgeon and Director of the Center for Endocrine Tumors and Disorders at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute. Her expertise is minimally invasive surgery for thyroid cancer and disorders, hyperparathyroidism, and adrenal tumors, including pheochromocytoma, Cushings, Conns, and adrenal cancer. Dr. Goldfarb also the Medical Director for Cancer Survivorship at the Saint John’s Cancer Institute. Learn More About Dr. Melanie Goldfarb.

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