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This test measures a substance called parathyroid hormone (PTH) in your blood. PTH is made by four tiny parathyroid glands in your neck. PTH circulates in your blood and is needed to regulate the level of calcium in your blood.

A parathyroid tumor is a growth inside a parathyroid gland. The parathyroid glands are 4 small glands located in the neck near the thyroid gland. They are part of the endocrine system that regulates hormones in the body.

Your doctor has discovered that one or several of your parathyroid glands are enlarged.

Anatomy of the parathyroid glands

parathyroid glands
Parathyroid Glands - Click to Enlarge

The parathyroid glands are two pairs of small, oval-shaped glands located adjacent to the two thyroid gland lobes in the neck.

Function of the parathyroid glands

Parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone, which plays a key role in the regulation of calcium levels in the blood. Precise calcium levels are important in the human body, since small deviations can cause muscle and nerve impairment.

The parathyroid hormone stimulates the following functions:

  • Release of calcium by bones into the bloodstream
  • Absorption of calcium from food by the intestines
  • Conservation of calcium by the kidneys

Primary hyperparathyroidism is a metabolic disorder in which one or more of the parathyroid glands produces too much parathyroid hormone. This can result in the loss of bone tissue.

Hyperparathyroidism occurs when 1 or more of your parathyroid glands are overactive. You have 4 of these tiny glands. Each one is about the size of a grain of rice.

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