Kaplan MCAT Sample Question

Biology

A patient presents in your office with muscle weakness, slowness in movement, and calcium deposits on his bones. A blood test reveals very low calcium levels in the blood. What is one treatment option for your patient?

  1. Increase calcitonin levels
  2. Increase PTH levels
  3. Increase mineralcorticoid levels
  4. Increase growth hormone levels

The answer is:

B. Increase PTH levels

Why?
The question stem is basically telling us that the patient has too much calcitonin in his blood, as indicated by the low levels of calcium, the muscle weakness and slowness in movement, and the calcium deposits on his bones. The best way to treat this problem is by increasing the PTH levels in his blood; PTH acts antagonistically to calcitonin, raising blood calcium levels by stimulating the release of calcium from the bone and decreasing calcium excretion in the kidneys. Therefore, (B) is the correct answer.

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