Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Medical history

A doctor who suspects hypoparathyroidism begins the diagnostic process by taking a medical history and asking about your symptoms, such as muscle cramps or tingling of the extremities. He or she will also want to know whether you've had any recent surgeries, particularly operations involving the thyroid or neck.

Physical exam

Next, your doctor will conduct a physical examination, looking for signs that suggest hypoparathyroidism, such as facial muscle twitching.

Blood tests

You'll also have blood tests, and the following findings may indicate hypoparathyroidism:

  • A low blood-calcium level
  • A low parathyroid hormone level
  • A high blood-phosphorus level
  • A low blood-magnesium level

Your doctor also may order these additional tests:

  • Electrocardiogram (ECG). This test involves taking electrical readings of your heart's activity. It can detect arrhythmias associated with hypocalcemia and, in turn, hypoparathyroidism.
  • Urine test. Evaluation of a sample of your urine can show whether your body is excreting too much calcium.
  • X-rays and bone density tests. These can determine whether abnormal calcium levels have affected the strength of your bones.

In diagnosing children, doctors check to see whether tooth development is normal and whether they have met developmental milestones.

Oct. 24, 2012