January is American Thyroid Awareness Month
Parathyroid glands are four pea-sized organs located in the neck near the thyroid gland. The parathyroid glands are responsible for producing PTH (parathyroid hormone). PTH helps the body utilize, keep and store calcium in the blood at normal levels. If the calcium levels in your body drop too low, your parathyroid glands secrete PTH. This helps bring more calcium into your blood by taking it out of your bones and increasing how much of it is reabsorbed by your intestines. If your calcium levels increase to high levels then your body produces less PTH. Perfect balance is essential to feeling healthy.
What is Hyperparathyroidism?
Sometimes our parathyroid hormones can get out of control. If your parathyroid glands produce too much PTH, you have a condition called hyperparathyroidism. Hyperparathyroidism typically occurs when a benign (noncancerous) tumor called an adenoma, forms on one of the parathyroid glands. This occurrence causes the gland to grow and become overactive. An overactive gland damages the body in two ways; it can take the calcium out of your body where it is needed. It circulates the calcium to your brain, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular system causing damage. Sometimes hyperparathyroidism can be caused by parathyroid cancer, but this is very rare.
- Family history of parathyroid cancer and or hyperparathyroidism
- Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 1 syndrome (MEN1)
- Feeling very tired or weak
- Depression or forgetfulness
- Bone or joint pain
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Stomach ulcers
- Kidney stones
- Excessive urination
- Fragile bones that easily fracture also referred to osteoporosis
How is a Diagnosis Made?
The diagnosis of a parathyroid disorder can be made by a simple blood test. High calcium levels often indicate a parathyroid problem. Additional diagnostic testing may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. Such tests may include:
- Blood test to check your calcium and hormone levels is definitive.
- Sestamibi Scan- uses a small dose of radioactive material to find abnormalities of the parathyroid gland.
How is Hyperparathyroid Adenoma Treated?
Treatment involves removing the abnormal gland. This is done through a small incision in the neck often takes less than 20 minutes. Occasionally, all four glands may be enlarged.
ChicagoENT –Leaders in Head and Neck Disorders
ChicagoENT offers the expertise and experience of highly skilled and fellowship trained physicians. It is the mission of ChicagoENT to provide you with the safest, most effective and minimally invasive thyroid and parathyroid surgical options available. Chicago ENT’s very own Dr. Michael Friedman is one of the worlds’s leading thyroid and parathyroid experts and surgeons. Dr. Friedman has authored and published numerous articles and textbooks, and has lectured on thyroid and parathyroid surgery all around the world. Dr. Friedman has performed over 5000 thyroid procedures.
That’s why more and more patients and physicians travel to Chicago ENT from across the globe for diagnoses, second opinions and advanced thyroid and parathyroid disease treatments.
To schedule your appointment with one of our multi-disciplinary teams of experts, please call us at 773.296.5500 or schedule online 24 hours a day, seven days a week-click here!