Your parathyroid glands control the level of calcium in your body by producing hormones. These 4 tiny glands sit near your thyroid gland but they function on their own and are not in any way related to your thyroid gland.
Normally your parathyroid glands are about the size of a grain of rice. Sometimes one of these glands becomes diseased - growing to an abnormal size and producing too much hormone. This is called hyperparathyroidism.
The symptoms of a diseased parathyroid gland vary. Some patients experience no symptoms. Others present with other conditions such as kidney stones (renal stones). Others experience more subtle symptoms like frequent headaches, fatigue, memory problems and depression.
These symptoms do not necessarily indicate a diseased parathyroid gland. A specialist consultant may order special blood tests to measure the level of calcium in your blood. They may order an MRI or CT scan or an ultrasound to confirm if your parathyroid glands are norm size.
If your consultant confirms you have hyperparathyroidism they may recommend surgical removal (called a parathyroidectomy) of your diseased parathyroid gland.