Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) Intact Blood Test
The Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) Intact Blood Test measures the level of PTH in the blood to help determine the cause of abnormal calcium and phosphorous levels that may lead to severe health conditions.
What is PTH?
Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is produced by the parathyroid glands, four small glands in the neck. The parathyroid hormone regulates the level of calcium in the blood and bones and helps control phosphorus and vitamin D levels. The parathyroid glands are triggered to produce more PTH when calcium levels are low. PTH transmits chemical messages to other organs to ensure that calcium levels are balanced.
Examples of PTH communicating with other organs regarding calcium levels include:
- PTH signals the bones to discharge some of their calcium into the blood.
- PTH tells the digestive system to absorb more calcium from an individual's food.
- PTH instructs the kidneys to reserve calcium in the body rather than dispelling it in the urine.
Following the release of PTH from the parathyroid glands, the hormone is operative in the body for only a few minutes. Therefore, the parathyroid glands stop releasing PTH when blood calcium levels rise. However, some individuals may have a condition that causes the parathyroid glands to malfunction, producing either too much PTH or too little. An individual's excess or deficiency of the parathyroid hormone can result in abnormal blood calcium levels that may lead to serious health problems.
What is the purpose of this test?
Order this Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) Intact Blood Test to measure the level of PTH in the blood and to help determine the cause of abnormal calcium and phosphorous levels that may lead to severe health conditions. In addition, this PTH Intact Blood Test may be used to help with the following:
- Diagnosing the cause of abnormal calcium levels, phosphorous deficiency, and severe osteoporosis.
- Monitoring patients undergoing treatment for kidney disease, hyperparathyroidism, and hypoparathyroidism.
- Confirming the successful removal of overactive parathyroid glands.
When should I order a PTH Intact Blood Test?
Individuals may order this test if they have experienced symptoms related to abnormal calcium levels in the blood. Individuals with excess blood calcium levels may experience the following symptoms:
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Mental changes, such as fatigue or confusion
- Bone pain
- Muscle twitching
- Muscle weakness
- Digestive upset, including nausea, appetite loss, and constipation
Additionally, symptoms of a calcium deficiency may include:
- Muscle cramps
- Dry skin
- Brittle fingernails
- Tingling in the lips, fingers, or feet
- Heart rhythm abnormalities
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