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Parathyroid Diseases

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Testing is performed to detect, diagnose, and monitor parathyroid diseases. The first indication of parathyroid disease may be an abnormal calcium result on a set of routine blood tests (such as a comprehensive metabolic panel, CMP). The tests used to evaluate the parathyroid glands are listed below.

Laboratory tests

  • Calcium – to determine whether the level is normal, elevated, or low
  • Phosphate – to evaluate levels in conjunction with calcium results
  • Urine calcium – to evaluate the amount of calcium that is being excreted by the kidneys
  • Parathyroid hormone (PTH) – measured with calcium to determine if the body is responding appropriately
  • Vitamin D – to see whether a deficiency in vitamin D may be affecting the calcium level

Non-laboratory tests

  • Ultrasound – an imaging scan that can help locate parathyroid glands and evaluate their size
  • Sestamibi scan – a test that uses two radioactive compounds to identify parathyroid glands that have a benign growth (adenoma), hyperplasia, or cancer
  • MRI or CT scan – sometimes used to help locate abnormal parathyroid glands or cancer
  • Bone mineral density test (bone densitometry) – used to evaluate bone density
  • Abdominal X-ray or CT scan – used to identify and locate kidney stones, which can form when there is an excess of calcium in the urine

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