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The Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) test is a medical test that measures the level of PTH in the blood. PTH is a hormone produced by the parathyroid glands, which are four small glands located in the neck. The primary function of PTH is to regulate calcium levels in the blood and bones, as well as to help regulate blood levels of phosphorus and vitamin D. Abnormalities in PTH levels can lead to serious health problems such as osteoporosis, kidney stones, and bone fractures. The PTH test is used to diagnose and monitor these health problems, as well as to check for problems with the parathyroid glands or chronic kidney disease. During the test, a healthcare professional will use a needle to draw blood from your arm. The test is generally safe and carries little risk.

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Purpose of the test

The Parathyroid Hormone (PTH) Test is a valuable tool for diagnosing and managing several conditions related to calcium metabolism. The test measures the level of PTH in the blood, an important hormone produced by the parathyroid glands. The following are some of the goals of the PTH test:

1. Diagnosing hyperparathyroidism: Hyperparathyroidism is a condition in which there is too much PTH in the blood, leading to high levels of calcium in the blood. This can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and bone pain. The PTH test can help diagnose hyperparathyroidism and monitor its progress.

2. Diagnosing hypoparathyroidism: Hypoparathyroidism is a condition in which there is too little PTH in the blood, resulting in low levels of calcium in the blood. This can cause symptoms such as muscle cramps, seizures, and tingling. The PTH test can help diagnose hypoparathyroidism and monitor its treatment.

3. Monitoring chronic kidney disease: Chronic kidney disease can cause abnormalities in calcium metabolism, including changes in PTH levels. PTH testing can help monitor these changes and guide treatment.

4. Assessing bone health: Calcium is essential for bone health, and abnormalities in calcium metabolism can lead to osteoporosis or other bone diseases. The PTH test can help assess bone health by measuring calcium levels and detecting any abnormalities.

PTH testing can help detect these conditions early, which can lead to better treatment and outcomes for patients. Without early detection and treatment, these conditions can lead to serious health problems such as kidney stones, osteoporosis, or even bone fractures.

Remember that while there are few risks associated with having a blood sample drawn for this test, it's important to follow all instructions given by your healthcare provider. Fasting or taking the test at a specific time of day may be necessary for accurate results. Overall, the PTH test is a valuable tool for assessing patient health and for diagnosing and managing various conditions related to calcium metabolism.

Who Should Get Tested

PTH testing may be recommended for individuals who are experiencing symptoms related to calcium metabolism or who have risk factors for conditions such as hyperparathyroidism or chronic kidney disease. The following are examples of people who may need to be tested:

- People with a history of kidney disease: Chronic kidney disease can cause abnormalities in calcium metabolism, including changes in PTH levels. The PTH test may be recommended for individuals with a history of kidney disease to monitor their calcium levels and guide treatment.

- Individuals with a history of parathyroid disease: Hyperparathyroidism and hypoparathyroidism are conditions that affect the parathyroid glands and can cause abnormalities in calcium metabolism. The PTH test may be recommended for individuals with a history of these disorders to monitor their PTH levels and assess their bone health.

- Individuals with symptoms related to calcium metabolism: Symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, bone pain, muscle cramps, seizures, or tingling may indicate abnormalities in calcium metabolism. PTH testing may be recommended for individuals experiencing these symptoms to help diagnose any underlying conditions.

- People at risk for osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weak and brittle due to calcium loss. The PTH test may be recommended for individuals at risk for osteoporosis, such as postmenopausal women or individuals with a family history of the condition, to assess their bone health.

Blood Test Preparation Guidelines
Time of day
It is recommended to schedule your appointment for blood tests in the morning hours between 7:00-10:00.
It is recommended to fast for approximately 12 hours before blood sampling. The last meal of the previous day should ideally be consumed around 6:00 p.m. On the day before the test, avoid heavy and fatty meals as well as alcohol.
Stay hydrated
Drinking water prior to testing can help with sample collection.
Other factors
Tests should not be performed after a sleepless night or intense physical activity. It is recommended to avoid exercise and stress immediately before blood collection and to not smoke. A short rest is recommended.
Medications and supplements:
Blood samples should be collected before the morning dose. Some drugs can interfere with test results. Consult with your doctor whether you can delay your dose because of lab tests.
Biotin supplements:
High doses of biotin supplements can affect test results, causing false elevation or reduction. It's recommended to avoid taking biotin for at least 72 hours before blood collection. If you are taking biotin, inform the personnel collecting the blood so that they can provide specific instructions.
Interpreting Test Results

The parathyroid hormone (PTH) test measures the level of PTH in the blood. PTH is produced by the parathyroid glands and plays a crucial role in regulating calcium and phosphorus levels in the body. The "intact" PTH test measures the entire PTH molecule, both the active and inactive forms.

Normal levels of intact PTH typically range from 10 to 65 picograms per milliliter (pg/mL), but these values can vary depending on the laboratory.

Elevated Intact PTH Levels: High levels of PTH can indicate hyperparathyroidism, a condition where one or more of the parathyroid glands produce too much PTH. This can lead to high calcium levels in the blood, potentially causing kidney stones, osteoporosis, or other health issues. Other causes of elevated PTH include chronic kidney disease, certain medications, and vitamin D deficiency.

Low Intact PTH Levels: Low levels of PTH can indicate hypoparathyroidism, where the parathyroid glands do not produce enough PTH. This can lead to low calcium levels in the blood, causing muscle cramps, numbness, or tingling sensations. Other causes of low PTH include certain surgeries, autoimmune conditions, or genetic factors.

It's essential to interpret the PTH test results in conjunction with other tests, such as calcium and vitamin D levels, to get a comprehensive understanding of the underlying condition. Abnormal PTH levels, either high or low, should be discussed with a healthcare professional to determine the cause and appropriate treatment or further diagnostic steps.

AI-Powered Insights and Expert Validation
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Language Model and Trusted Sources
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