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Understanding the parathyroid glands

The parathyroid is actually four small glands located behind the thyroid. Together, they produce parathyroid hormone (PTH) which is responsible for controlling the levels of calcium and phosphorous in the blood and helping the body produce vitamin D.

Parathyroid Disease Treatment Miami

What is parathyroid disease?

Parathyroid disease refers to a group of three different conditions that affect the parathyroid gland. They include:

Hyperparathyroidism (HPT)

This condition develops when the parathyroid produces too much PTH, usually due to a benign tumor on the gland. Excessive PTH can cause too much calcium to accumulate in the blood, resulting in osteoporosis and kidney stones.

Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue and low energy levels
  • Muscle weakness and bone pain
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bone loss

Parathyroid cancer

Cancer arising from the parathyroid glands is extremely rare. When it does occur, it tends to happen in middle-age, progress very slowly, and return after treatment.

Symptoms include:

  • A lump in the neck
  • Speaking and swallowing challenges
  • An increase in blood calcium levels
  • Nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Frequent urination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Kidney stones
  • Bone pain


When the parathyroid gland does not produce enough PTH, the calcium levels in the blood may plummet. This condition is often caused by neck surgery or damage to the parathyroid glands.

Symptoms include:

  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle spasms

Treatment options for parathyroid disease

Your treatment will depend on the type of parathyroid disease you’re diagnosed with. To obtain a definitive diagnosis, your doctor will order hyperparathyroidism testing, blood tests, urine tests and imaging tests, such as a CT and MRI scan.

In many cases, medication can be administered to reduce parathyroid hormone and better control your blood calcium levels. However, if a tumor is present, the surgical removal of that particular gland will likely be recommended. This procedure is called a parathyroidectomy. It can be performed with open surgery or using a minimally-invasive approach for a shorter hospital stay and an easier recovery.

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It can be challenging to accurately diagnose parathyroid disease. As such, it’s important to work with a physician with a high level of experience diagnosing and treating these conditions, like SFENTA’s board-certified ear, nose and throat experts.

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