Parathyroid Disease

There are four parathyroid glands located in the neck, just behind the thyroid. These glands and the thyroid are both essential parts of the endocrine system. While they share very similar names, they have completely separate functions in the body. The parathyroid glands are very small—typically about the size of an apple seed—and they are responsible for regulating the levels of calcium in the body.

Because calcium plays so many roles in the human body, from the building blocks of the skeletal system to the contraction of muscles, to the communication of nerves, even a small imbalance of this mineral can cause widespread health issues. Most commonly, calcium imbalances related to parathyroid disorders are caused by an over-activity of these glands due to the growth of non-cancerous tumors, which is known as hyperparathyroidism.

Symptoms of Parathyroid issues

The symptoms of hyperparathyroidism can vary greatly, and many of them overlap with symptoms of other conditions—including common thyroid disorders. Therefore, it is important to take a broad look at a patient’s health with a complete blood panel to accurately diagnose hyperparathyroidism. Below, you can get a look at some of the most likely signs and symptoms of parathyroid malfunction, which may prompt you to seek specialized care and parathyroid treatment from The Surgery Group of Los Angeles.

Symptoms

  • Weight loss despite an increase in appetite
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Twitchiness, fatigue, irritability, nervous sweat
  • Muscle weakness and shaky hands

Hyperparathyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is a condition that causes an overactive thyroid gland. This means that the gland produces too much thyroxine. High levels of this hormone speed up the metabolism and can cause mood swings, irritability, nervousness, weakness, and heat sensitivity. Other symptoms include problems sleeping, thin skin, irregular heartbeat, sudden weight loss, and brittle hair. More often than not, these symptoms are only noticeable in older adults. In younger people, the symptoms are much more subtle.

Parathyroid Hyperplasia

Parathyroid hyperplasia is a parathyroid disease that can cause hyperparathyroidism. This condition leads to elevated parathyroid hormone levels, as well as blood calcium levels. Elevated calcium levels can cause several symptoms, including kidney stones, lethargy, constipation, and nausea.

Parathyroid Cancer

Parathyroid cancer is a rare form of the disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the parathyroid glands. Symptoms of parathyroid cancer include a lump in the neck, as well as feeling tired, weakness, nausea, loss of appetite, and extreme thirst. To diagnose this form of cancer, tests are conducted to examine the neck, as well as blood tests.

Parathyroid Adenoma

A parathyroid adenoma is a benign tumor that is located on one of the parathyroid glands. This tumor causes the gland to release more parathyroid hormone, which can lead to hyperparathyroidism. Treating parathyroid adenoma requires parathyroid surgery, also known as a parathyroidectomy, to remove the tumor.

Parathyroid Treatment FAQ

How are Parathyroid problems treated?
Because hyperparathyroidism is often a result of a benign tumor of the parathyroid glands, parathyroid surgery is often necessary to address the condition. Unlike an overactive thyroid that can be treated with medication and other conservative treatments, the parathyroid glands will not return to normal function until tumors have been removed.
Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy - what is MIP?
For the last few years, MIP has become the preferred method of removing tumors on the parathyroid glands. The surgery has a high success rate and a much lower complication rate when compared to traditional parathyroid surgery.

The surgery involves removing tumors from the impacted parathyroid gland. Patients who have parathyroid disease typically only have tumors on one of the glands. In the past, surgery involved opening the neck to expose all four of the glands, but, with MIP, a very small incision (less than an inch!) is used to remove the tumor. With minimally invasive surgery, there’s less risk of complication, a reduced recovery period, and a nearly invisible scar.

Parathyroid surgery experts in Los Angeles
At the Thyroid Institute, we will work with you to determine the best treatment option for you. Whether it is surgery or medication, our goal is to treat your condition and get you back on the road to health and happiness.

If you have questions about surgery or want to learn what other treatment options are available, you can count on us! To learn more about treatment options in Los Angeles, schedule an appointment.

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