The Parathyroid Glands usually sit behind the Thyroid Gland. There are four small Parathyroid Glands which are part of the endocrine system. The glands secrete Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) which regulates the amount of calcium into the bones and blood.
Hyperparathyroidism occurs when small benign Parathyroid Adenoma(s) (tumours) cause the Parathyroid Gland to secrete more hormone than necessary which depletes the bones of calcium and can lead to osteoporosis and can cause fractures.
If a patient shows symptoms or tests confirm diagnosis, the patient would be referred to a Thyroid Endocrinologist. The Endocrinologist would determine if one or more of the Parathyroid Glands need to be surgically removed. If this is necessary, the patient would be referred to an Endocrine Surgeon who specialises in Parathyroid Surgery to remove the Parathyroid Gland(s).
The patient may need to be prescribed a daily calcium dose, however this would be determined by the treating doctor.
Hypoparathyroidism usually occurs when the production of Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) is decreased. This usually happens when a patient has had surgery to remove the Thyroid Gland and the Parathyroid Glands have been damaged or disturbed during surgery.
These days all patients who have surgery to remove their thyroid gland are given calcium for usually two weeks following surgery. This is to protect the intake of calcium into the bones and blood supply and to give the Parathyroid Glands time to recover. Usually after two weeks, the dose is reduced and then withdrawn.
Parathyroid Cancer develops as a result of one or more of the Parathyroid Glands developing a tumour. Parathyroid Cancer is usually detected due to primary hyperparathyroidism being diagnosed. Treatment requires surgery to remove the Parathyroid Gland(s) affected by an experienced Endocrine Surgeon specialising in Parathyroid Surgery.