Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What tests measure parathyroid hormone levels?"
How are the tests taken? Do they draw blood?
Parathyroid hormone is hormone substance released by your parathyroid glands. It functions in the regulation of Calcium and Phosphorus balance in the body. When an individuals blood calcium levels fall below a certain level, Parathyroid hormone production increases and is secreted into the bloodstream. This in turn causes the kidneys to preserve Calcium, the intestines start to increase calcium absorption and bones can be induced to demineralize, all in order to increase the levels of calcium in the blood. Of course, when the calcium levels are high, parathyroid production (and therefore levels in the blood) decrease. Parathyroid hormone is made in the parathyroid glands which are located in the neck. There are usually 4 parathyroid glands - 2 on the left and 2 on the right side. There have been instances where a 5th parathyroid gland has been found in certain individuals, but this is a relatively rare anatomic variation and is not generally significant from the standpoint of parathyroid levels or production. As parathyroid hormone is made in the glands, it is secreted into the blood-stream and gets circulated throughout the body. Therefore the easiest and quickest way to assess parathyroid hormone levels is by a simple blood test. There is nothing special about collection of the blood sample. It can be drawn from any peripheral vein. The results are generally made available within 24 hours. I strongly recommend that any diagnostic testing and possible treatment in relation to parathyroid hormone, Calcium and phosphate levels be discussed with your endocrinologist or internal medicine doctor.
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