Calcitonin Test

What Is a Calcitonin Test?

A calcitonin test is a laboratory test that measures the amount of calcitonin, a hormone made by the author's thyroid gland located in the neck. Calcitonin is released in response to rising levels of calcium in the blood.

Why Is a Calcitonin Test Done?

The calcitonin test is used to help diagnose and manage certain conditions. They may be ordered for people who have symptoms of disorders of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, as well as other conditions such as Paget's disease, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroid cancer, and low levels of vitamin D.

Preparation for a Calcitonin Test

Before a calcitonin test, it's important to inform your doctor if you’re taking any regular medications, especially those that affect thyroid hormone levels in the body. You may also need to stop some medicines before the test. Be sure to let your doctor know about any supplements, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and herbs you are taking.

Procedure of a Calcitonin Test

The calcitonin test is a simple process. It involves a simple blood draw from a vein in the arm. As with any blood test, it may bring some mild pain and discomfort during and after the procedure. After the blood is collected, it is sent to a laboratory to be analyzed.

Types of Calcitonin Tests

There are two types of calcitonin tests that can be done. The first is a baseline test, which is used to establish a reference value for a patient. This test is done before any treatment for a thyroid or other condition.

The second type of calcitonin test is called a functional test. It measures the level of calcitonin in response to a change in the level of calcium in the blood. This test is done during or after treatment for thyroid or parathyroid conditions.

Risks of a Calcitonin Test

Like any blood test, there is a small risk of bleeding and infection when a calcitonin test is performed. There is also a risk of an inaccurate result if the sample is not taken or handled properly. Your doctor will discuss the risks of the procedure with you prior to ordering the test.

When Is a Calcitonin Test Needed?

The calcitonin test is usually ordered when a person has symptoms of a thyroid or parathyroid disorder, such as hyperparathyroidism or hypothyroidism. It may also be ordered to monitor the progress of treatment for thyroid and parathyroid disorders, or to confirm a diagnosis. In some cases, it can also be used to help diagnose certain kinds of cancer, such as thyroid cancer.