Q:

Can parathyroid symptoms be reversed with medication?

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Quick Answer

Parathyroid symptoms cannot be reversed with medication, according to board-certified parathyroid surgeon Dr. James Norman on EndocrineWeb. Patients with primary hyperparathyroidism can either do nothing or have surgery to remove the diseased parathyroid gland. Osteoporosis drugs are not a substitute for removing an overactive parathyroid gland.

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Can parathyroid symptoms be reversed with medication?
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Full Answer

The most accurate way to diagnose primary hyperparathyroidism is to test for increased parathyroid hormone levels along with elevated serum calcium, Norman states. Another test measuring the amount of calcium in the urine over a 24-hour period indirectly measures parathyroid activity has only a 25 percent to 40 percent accuracy rate. Parathyroid glands regulate the amount of calcium in the blood.

Parathyroid disease doesn't go away by itself, Norman states. A parathyroid tumor continues to grow and the bone condition and osteoporosis worsens unless the diseased parathyroid is surgically removed. Once the gland is removed, osteoporosis medications may help build bone density and replace the body's lost calcium. Many doctors use this technique after surgery with patients who experience decreased bone density.

In the past, parathyroid surgery was a major operation that required general anesthesia, Norman states. As of 2015, surgeons can use minimally invasive parathyroid surgery techniques on patients of many ages. The procedure uses local anesthesia and patients can go home in hours.

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