Parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormones, which regulate the level of calcium in the blood. Other cells in the body, especially cells in the bones, kidneys, and small intestines respond to parathyroid hormones by increasing the calcium level in the blood.
A patient could develop primary hyperparathyroidism — a condition where parathyroid hormones levels are above normal and so are calcium hormones — if one or more of the parathyroid glands become enlarged. In a healthy body, when the calcium level is high, the parathyroid hormone level should be low or undetectable. The body does not need parathyroid glands to provide any hormones when the calcium levels are high in the bloodstream. In 99% of cases, this is a noncancerous condition.
Symptoms of hyperparathyroidism
· Brittle bones (osteopenia and osteoporosis)
· Heart disease
· Increased acid secretion in the stomach that may lead to gastritis or ulcers
· Kidney stones or decreased kidney function
Parathyroid surgery and exploration
One form of surgery is the four-gland parathyroid exploration. In this procedure, the surgeon will make a small incision in the lower neck and examine all parathyroid glands. Unusually enlarged parathyroid glands are removed. This operation has a cure rate of roughly 98%.
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