The parathyroid glands release a hormone called parathyroid hormone which helps in regulating calcium levels in the blood. A parathyroid hormone test measures the level of PTH (parathyroid hormone) in the blood. And this test is used to find the cause of abnormal calcium levels, identify hyperparathyroidism, or check the status of chronic kidney disease. Additionally, the parathyroid hormone plays a vital role in controlling the levels of phosphorus and vitamin D in the blood. When levels of PTH are too high or too low it can cause problems with the kidneys and bones and cause changes in calcium and vitamin D levels. Tests for phosphorus & calcium levels can be done at the same time as a PTH test.
This article covers all the significant topics related to the parathyroid hormone test such as the test cost, symptoms, preparation for tests, risk factor, and how to get tested for a parathyroid hormone test.
- What is a parathyroid hormone (PTH) test?
- Why do you need a parathyroid hormone test?
- Symptoms of hypercalcemia
- Symptoms of hypocalcemia
- How should you prepare?
- What happens during a parathyroid hormone test?
- Risk of this test
- What do the results mean?
- Other tests
- Provider locations
For our readers who are interested in knowing the parathyroid hormone test cost beforehand, we begin with that section.
How much does the parathyroid hormone test cost?
Parathyroid hormone test costs range from $79 to $99 in different labs and facilities across the US. Prior appointment isn’t required. You can order tests online by comparing the price or visiting the nearest lab during lab business hours. You will get the results in your email in 2 to 3 business days after completing the procedure. Apart from this, doctor consultation is available for any kind of further treatment or medical advice.
The table below shows the parathyroid hormone test provider and their prices. You can know more and book the test by clicking on the “Book Now” button. All the labs are certified and offer a network across the US.
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Parathyroid hormone test cost with insurance
Many insurance companies in the U.S. cover all the vital tests like a parathyroid hormone test. However, the coverage provided by private health insurance companies and national health insurance programs like Medicare varies widely. Most of the health insurance policies cover parathyroid hormone test costs only once or twice a year and when your physician orders more than twice in a year, you should pay the test cost out of pocket. So, you are recommended to check if your health insurance policy covers the parathyroid hormone test cost.
Our parathyroid hormone testing providers do not accept any kind of health insurance policy. However, they can provide you with an itemized receipt containing all the details viz the name of the test, code of the test, and CPT code which is necessary for insurance reimbursement purposes.
What is a parathyroid hormone (PTH) test?
A parathyroid hormone blood test measures the level of PTH in the blood. The four-sectioned parathyroid glands are located in the neck, at the edge of the thyroid gland. They are responsible for regulating calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus levels in the blood and bones. The parathyroid glands release a hormone – parathyroid hormone. It is also called parathormone. The parathyroid hormone helps regulate calcium levels in the blood.
Calcium is essential for the proper functioning of the heart, nerves, and muscles. Calcium imbalances may be a sign of parathyroid gland or PTH issues. The level of calcium in the blood signals the parathyroid glands to release or suppress PTH. If calcium blood levels are low, the parathyroid glands increase PTH production. And if calcium blood levels are high, these glands slow down the secretion of PTH. When a person has too much or too little parathyroid hormone, it can cause abnormalities in blood calcium levels and can lead to serious health problems.
Why do you need a parathyroid hormone test?
A parathyroid hormone test can help doctors figure out whether the abnormal calcium levels are caused by the parathyroid glands. If your test shows that the PTH level is appropriate for the calcium level, then there can be some other cause of high or low calcium levels.
Doctors may also order this test to:
- Check parathyroid function
- Monitor the effectiveness of treatment in parathyroid-related issues
- Distinguish between parathyroid-related & non-parathyroid-related disorders
- To monitor chronic conditions like kidney disease
- Find out the cause of low phosphorus levels in your blood
Doctors may recommend this test when you are showing symptoms of hypercalcemia or hypocalcemia.
Symptoms of hypercalcemia
When calcium levels are too high, you may experience symptoms that include:
- Abdominal pain
- Bones that break easily
- Frequent urination
- Excessive thirst
- Kidney stones
- Bone pain
- Muscle aches
- Muscle twitching
Symptoms of hypocalcemia
When calcium levels are too low, you may experience symptoms that include:
- Depression and moodiness
- Tingling/numbness in the arms, legs, or around your mouth
- Abnormal heartbeat
- Dry skin
- Muscle spasms
How should you prepare?
Generally, you do not need to take any special measures to prepare for a parathyroid hormone test. But sometimes doctors may ask you to fast before the test or may want you to take the test at a certain time of day. And you may need to stop taking certain supplements or medications the day before or the day of the test. So, it is important to check with the doctor before you stop taking prescription medications, over-the-counter medicines, and supplements.
What happens during a parathyroid hormone test?
A nurse or health professional uses a needle to take a blood sample, usually from the arm. In order to make the vein fill with blood and swell up, they will tie a band around the upper part of the arm. And the healthcare professional will clean the area with an antiseptic to help prevent infection. After inserting the needle, the blood sample will be collected into a vial or test tube. Only a little blood is needed for a parathyroid hormone test.
You may feel a quick sting or pinch when the needle goes in/out. After taking the blood sample, the healthcare professional will remove the needle and band. And they will put a piece of gauze & a bandage over the spot to stop the bleeding. Usually, this blood test takes only a few minutes.
Risk of this test
There is little risk in having a parathyroid hormone test. You may have bruising or slight pain in the area where the needle was inserted. However, these symptoms go away quickly.
What do the results mean?
The normal range for a parathyroid hormone (PTH) test is 14 to 65 pg/mL. The normal value may vary slightly among different labs. Few labs use different measurements or test different specimens. Doctors will also look at the results based on age, health, and other factors. So, talk to your doctor about what your result means. Because the value which is not in the normal range may still be normal for you.
High levels could be caused by overactive parathyroid glands. This is called hyperparathyroidism. However, high PTH levels may also indicate:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Low vitamin D level
- Low calcium levels unrelated to parathyroid glands
- Swelling or tumors in the parathyroid glands
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding in a woman (rare)
Low levels could be related to underactive parathyroid glands. This is called hypoparathyroidism. However, low PTH levels may also indicate:
- Iron overload
- Surgery for thyroid disease
- Autoimmune disorder
- High calcium levels
- Low levels of magnesium in the blood
- Vitamin D intoxication
- Sarcoidosis (a disease that causes tissue inflammation)
- Cancer, like lymphoma or multiple myeloma
Doctors may order additional testing to identify the problem when either PTH or calcium levels are too high or too low.
The parathyroid hormone plays a vital role in controlling the levels of vitamin D and phosphorus in the blood. Based on parathyroid hormone levels, you may need more tests. When PTH levels are high, but calcium levels are low, it may indicate that your parathyroid glands are working properly. Doctors may test your vitamin D, phosphorous, and magnesium levels to check whether they are affecting your calcium levels.
And when calcium levels are high and PTH levels are above normal, it may indicate hyperparathyroidism. In such cases, doctors may order an X-ray or other imaging tests to examine the parathyroid glands. Hyperparathyroidism may be treated with surgery to remove the glands (when they are enlarged or contain a tumor).
A parathyroid hormone test can be done in any of the following locations by visiting the lab near you. To know the parathyroid hormone test cost, refer to the first section of the article.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Frequently Asked Questions
Will insurance cover my testing cost?
No, insurance will not be covered in the billing. However, they will provide you with a receipt for insurance reimbursement purposes.
How should I book my appointment?
You can choose the most suitable provider from above and make an appointment by following the instructions mentioned by them.
Can I cancel my lab test order?
Yes, you can cancel your lab test order any time before your testing. A refund will be initiated after deducting the cancellation fee. However, cancellation is at the discretion of the provider.
Do the providers offer result interpretations?
Yes, a few providers may provide doctor consultation who will take you through the results and provide clarification if needed.
How do I receive my report?
To ensure your privacy, the test report will be mailed to you by the provider.
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