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Did you know that calcium controls the release of hormones? Or more precisely, the parathyroid hormone, which is responsible for regulating the calcium levels in the blood, particularly if they are running low. The hormone does this in three separate places in the body:
- Bones – parathyroid hormones trigger the release of calcium in the large stores win the bones in to the blood stream. This weakens bone structure and reduces the amounts of cell growth within the bone.
- Intestine – parathyroid hormone increases the ability to absorb calcium in the intestine from food.
- Kidneys – the hormone restricts the amount of calcium that could be lost in urine. It is also here where the hormone stimulates the production of vitamin D in the kidneys.
Parathyroid hormone is largely controlled by calcum levels in the blood. If the levels are running low, the hormone is released to get the body to produce some more stores. If calcium levels are high, the parathyroid hormone is held back. The same kind of thing happens when magnesium levels drop and increase.
Parathyroid hormones – the effects of too much or too little hormone in the body
When the parathyroid hormone triggers too much calcium in the blood (a condition called hypercalcaemia), it can be the result of a number of things including something called hyperparathyroidism. There are three types to this – primary, secondary and tertiary hyperparathyroidism. It is essentially high blood calcium due to an unregulated secretion of the parathyroid hormone. However, secondary hyperparathyroidism is a response to low calcium levels caused by something like kidney disease or cancer.
If the patient has too little parathyroid hormone, they suffer some the hypoparathyroidism. This is a pretty rare medical condition, and is usually treated fairly simply. The patient can take calcium supplements with added vitamin D to adjust the low calcium levels – called hypocalcaemia.