Calcium and Parathyroid Disorders

A high or low calcium level in the blood may not be associated with any symptoms, but should always be investigated. This may indicate a problem as simple as correcting your vitamin D levels or may indicate an abnormally functioning parathyroid gland. The parathyroid glands are (usually) four pea-sized glands which lie just behind the thyroid gland. Their function has nothing to do with the thyroid; para is from the greek meaning along side of, hence parathyroid - next to the thyroid. The function of these glands is to maintain the body's calcium levels under tight control.

When these glands fail to function properly, the calcium concentration in the blood can be either too high or too low. In many people this will be picked up on a routine blood test and the symptoms may be very subtle, such that patients may not have been aware that there was a problem. This does not mean that this is a benign condition. Complications of an overactive parathyroid gland can lead to problems such as osteoporosis, kidney stones and even subtle changes in your ability to think clearly.

The decison to treat this condition is a complex one, which should be tailored to each individual patient. Treatments may involve watchful waiting, medical therapy in some cases, or surgical treatments in the hands of a skilled surgeon. After completing a detailed evaluation, we will work together with you, your primary care physician and if necessary, an ENT surgeon, to ensure the best outcome for you.