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Parathyroid: Possible Problems, Gland Function & Development


Do you constantly feel “tired” and “achy?” Do you regularly take calcium and vitamin D supplements to ensure your bones don’t break? If so, there’s a good chance that you or someone you know may have a parathyroid problem.

According to reports, in the United States, about 100,000 people develop primary hyperparathyroidism each year.

The parathyroid glands are four tiny, grape-sized glands located near your thyroid gland on the back of your neck. The parathyroid glands help control how much calcium is in your blood by releasing a hormone called “parathyroid hormone.”

The following article will explain more about parathyroid problems and provide information on how to prevent your chances of developing one. Firstly, you must understand the parathyroid gland function & development in detail.

The Parathyroid Glands

You have four parathyroid glands, each one about the size of a grain of rice. These glands are found on the back of your neck near the thyroid gland. Your parathyroid glands release a hormone called parathyroid hormone, which plays a vital role in regulating your blood calcium levels.

Your parathyroid glands help control how much calcium is in your blood by releasing a hormone called “parathyroid hormone.” This hormone stimulates the movement of calcium (and phosphorus) from your bones into your blood.

When this happens, your bones release calcium to help maintain normal blood levels of this mineral, a condition called “resorption.” The parathyroid hormone also reduces the reabsorption of calcium by the kidneys.

This hormone is also involved in the formation of strong bones and teeth. In addition, this hormone helps to regulate your blood pressure. If you have a parathyroid gland function & development problem, too much calcium will be released from the bones, and this can cause them to weaken and break easily.

Possible Problems

Here are some common symptoms to watch out for if you think you may have a parathyroid problem:

1) Bone Tenderness

Bones play an inevitable role in the human body. They protect your organs, produce blood cells, and store minerals like calcium. If you have a parathyroid problem, your bones may become weak because of too much resorption or the release of calcium by the bones.

The symptoms associated with weak bones include bone tenderness. If you press on specific areas of your skeleton, it may hurt. Bone tenderness is commonly felt in the hips, ribs, spine, and pelvis (sacrum).

2) Osteoporosis

Another sign of weak bones is osteoporosis. This medical term refers to an increase in bone loss because your body breaks down your bones faster than it can rebuild them. Weak bones are more susceptible to fractures, leading to chronic pain.

3) Chronic Bone/Joint Pain

Parathyroid problems can also cause you to experience “long-term” or chronic bone and joint pain. If your bones become weak, they will be sensitive when touched. It is known as “tenderness.” When you roll over in bed, your bones may hurt because they don’t have the same calcium content as normal bones.

4) High Levels of Calcium

When too much calcium is given from the bones and reabsorption by the kidneys is decreased, you can develop very high serum calcium or blood calcium levels. If this happens, it can result in confusion, lethargy, muscle weakness, nausea, vomiting, and even coma.

Prevention of Parathyroid Problems

1) Calcium Intake Reduction

Some doctors recommend reducing the amount of calcium in your diet when you have a parathyroid problem. Excess amounts of calcium will cause bones to become weak when resorbed.

If you have a parathyroid problem, it is essential to avoid calcium supplementation and intake of dairy products, calcium-fortified foods/beverages, antacids containing calcium, and supplements high in calcium content.

If you have a parathyroid problem or another medical condition involving the reproductive organs, you may need to avoid calcium antacids. Although this mineral is helpful for your body, too much of it can cause a problem.

2) Vitamin D Intake Reduction

Calcium is only one of the two minerals involved in good bone health. You need large amounts of vitamin D to help absorb and utilize calcium from the food you eat. If your vitamin D intake is sufficient, your calcium absorption in the intestines will increase.

3) Magnesium Intake Reduction

The other dietary mineral present for good bone health is magnesium. Too much magnesium can also cause problems for people with parathyroid issues when too much calcium resorption by the bones.

Some doctors recommend reducing or avoiding magnesium-rich calcium antacids, especially if you have a parathyroid problem.

4) Regular Screening/Medical Checkup

Talk to your doctor if you think you might have a parathyroid problem. You can be screened for this condition with blood or urine tests. Your doctor will also perform an ultrasound of the thyroid gland and an abdomen X-ray.

In conclusion, a parathyroid problem occurs when the parathyroid glands secrete too much hormone or become enlarged.

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