The parathyroid glands are four small, light-colored lumps that protrude from the surface of the thyroid gland. Although the four parathyroid glands are small, they have a very rich blood supply. The parathyroid glands are at risk also for being accidentally removed during thyroidectomy since they are located just behind the thyroid gland. The parathyroid gland secretes parathyroid hormones, which are produced by chief cells. The chief cells are arranged and seen as tightly packed nests around small blood vessels. Parathyroid hormones are the ones responsible of the regulation of calcium and phosphorus in the body.
The parathyroid glands are said to be butterfly-shaped and is found in the neck. The parathyroid gland may be seen on both sides of the windpipe. The four parathyroid glands are situated on both sides of the neck; two glands per side. Parathyroid hormones or PTH secreted by the parathyroid gland is also known as a polypeptide that consists 84 amino acids. Hormones are referred to as chemical messengers of the body. These hormones are produced and secreted by special glands called exocrine glands. As soon as the exocrine glands produce and secrete these hormones, it is then released into the bloodstream and travels directly to its target cells. These hormones are bound to a structure called receptor. The receptors may be seen either on the surface or inside the target cells. These receptors bind a specific hormone that creates a physiologic response or a normal body response.
All the activities of the hormones are controlled by the exocrine system. It circulates in the blood as soon as the endocrine glands secrete the hormones. The parathyroid hormones major target cells are the kidneys, bones and the gastrointestinal system.
Interesting Questions about Thyroid:
There are several different causes of hypothyroidism:
- An inflammation of the thyroid gland called thyroiditis can lower the amount of hormones produced. The number one cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a painless disease of the immune system that runs in families. Another form of thyroiditis, postpartum thyroiditis, occurs in 5%-9% of women soon after giving birth and is usually a temporary condition.
- Thyroid surgery or radioactive iodine treatment may cause hypothyroidism.
- One out of every 4,000 infants is born without a working thyroid gland. If the problem is not corrected, the child will become mentally and physically retarded.
- About 100 million people around the world don’t get enough iodine in their diets. Iodine is a chemical which the thyroid uses to produce its hormones. The problem has been solved in the United States and most developed countries by adding iodine to salt.
- Some other possible causes of hypothyroidism are radiation therapy to the head and neck, birth defects, certain drugs, problems with the pituitary gland, and a gradual wearing out of the thyroid gland.
Graves’ disease is the most common form of hyperthyroidism. It affects many Americans, including Olympic athlete Gail Devers, who won a gold medal in track after being diagnosed with and treated for Graves’ disease.
Graves’ disease is caused by problems with the immune system. Normally, the immune system defends the body against germs and viruses. In autoimmune diseases such as Graves’, the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. In Graves’ disease, the body produces antibodies which make the thyroid gland produce too much thyroid hormone.
Diseases of the immune system tend to run in families and are about five times more common in women. Graves’ is linked to other autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, premature gray hair, diabetes mellitus, arthritis and patchy loss of skin pigment (vitiligo).
Hyperthyroidism from any cause can make the upper eyelids pull back, but Graves’ disease often causes one or both eyes to bulge out of their sockets. This condition, known as exophthalmos, can cause loss of eye muscle control, double vision, and (rarely) loss of vision. Most cases require no treatment, but some patients may need to see an eye doctor (ophthalmologist) for specialized treatment. This may include steroids, radiation, or surgery.
Have more questions? Need more answers? Check our Full Thyroid FAQ
Parathyroid Gland Functions
The parathyroid gland plays a very important role in the human anatomy. It secretes parathyroid hormones that regulate the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. The sole function of the parathyroid glands is to control the calcium within the blood. It also controls the amount of calcium in the bones. The parathyroid gland protrudes on the surface of the thyroid gland.
However, the thyroid gland is the one responsible in regulating metabolism and has no effects whatsoever with the calcium levels in the body, while the parathyroid glands are the ones regulating the calcium levels in the body and have no effects on metabolism. The muscles need calcium in order for it to contract. The human body needs a precise calcium level to avoid muscle and nerve impairment. The parathyroid hormones also help in stimulating other functions such as absorption of food by the intestines, release of calcium by the bones in the bloodstream and conservation of calcium by the kidneys.
When the calcium in the blood goes too low, the parathyroid glands make more parathyroid hormones. Increased PTH causes the body to put more calcium into the blood. Increased PTH causes the bones to release their calcium in the blood. When the calcium in the blood gets too high, the parathyroid glands stop making parathyroid hormones. High calcium levels normally mean an individual may have a tumor on one of the parathyroid glands.
Thyroid FAQ & Links to Related Articles
|There are four parathyroid glands that are normally having the size of a single rice grain. In some normal cases, they can be as big as the size of a pea.|
|Also called underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism is a disorder that is characterized by abnormal level of thyroid hormones in the body, which is too low.|
|The thyroid is a butterfly (pear)-shaped gland, it consists of 2 symmetrical lobes joined by a central isthmus that normally covers the 2nd & 3rd tracheal rings.|
|Congenital hypothyroidism is a thyroid gland disorder that may lead to deafness or mental retardation if left undetected.|
|Hypothyroidism can cause depression. Most people don?t realize that this feeling is depression caused by the thyroid gland not functioning as it should.|
Papillary Thyroid Cancer
|Papillary thyroid cancer is one of the thyroid cancer types. This type of thyroid cancer arises from the follicles in the thyroid gland.|
Thyroid Gland Function
|The thyroid gland is located immediately below the larynx on each side of and anterior to the trachea. It is one of the largest of the endocrine glands|
|These thyroid hormones are responsible in regulating the body?s metabolism, which is how much food will be broken down into useful energy for consumption.|
|When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, one may suffer from hyperthyroidism.|
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone
|The thyroid stimulating hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. The thyroid stimulating hormone promotes the growth of the thyroid gland.|
|Thyroid hormones are chemical substances produced by the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck.|
Supplements for the Thyroid
|Natural thyroid supplements are helpful as a remedy to thyroid disorders. Its natural ingredients assure one of its safeties in taking it.|
Thyroid Symptoms in Women
|The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland that is the primary responsible in regulating the body?s metabolism.|
|Thyroid surgery is used to treat people with thyroid problems such as thyroid cancer, thyroid nodules and hyperthyroidism.|
|Thyroid tests or thyroid function tests are done to check the thyroid function in one?s body. A doctor will be able to determine and diagnose the thyroid disorder.|
|Treatment for thyroid disorders should be done to prevent unwanted results caused by the severity of the condition. Consult a physician for more of these treatments.|
|Thyroidectomy is a surgical process wherein the whole or a part of the thyroid gland is removed. This surgical process is used to treat thyroid disorders.|
|Having an underactive thyroid is a minor problem but it seeks proper attention to avoid further health problems. Consult a physician about any thyroid problem.|
|Low thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism, is a condition where the thyroid gland is under active.|
Underactive Thyroid Diet
|Following a healthy meal plan, exercise and proper medication goes hand in hand to treat hypothyroidism. Consult a physician for a more individualized plan.|
Thyroid Cancer Treatment
|Each thyroid cancer treatment depends on the type of thyroid cancer and the extent or stage of the thyroid cancer one is suffering from.|
Parathyroid Hormone Levels
|Parathyroid hormones are considered to be the most important endocrine regulator. It basically regulates the calcium and phosphorus concentration in the body.|
|Studies show that since 1925, the standard treatment for parathyroid disease is to surgically remove the parathyroid gland(s) which are overproducing parathyroid hormones.|
|Parathyroid adenoma is a small tumor of the parathyroid gland and is known to be the most common disorder of the gland.|
Medullary Thyroid Cancer
|Medullary thyroid cancer is one of the types of thyroid cancer. This type of thyroid cancer is more common in women than in men.|
|Most people don?t feel any symptoms. Others can just lose weight and just feel depressed for no reason at all.|
|Suppose you go in for a routine checkup and your doctor decides to test your thyroid function. You?ve experienced no thyroid disease symptoms|
|Hypothyroidism develops for over a long period of time. It?s normally from several months to even several years.|
Hypothyroidism Natural Treatment
|People who are suffering from hypothyroidism are advised to get plenty of exercise and have a balanced and healthy diet. The diet must be rich in protein and iodine.|
|Self medicating one?s thyroid disorder with hypothyroidism diet pills without proper information of the diet pill does not address the problem.|
Hyperthyroidism Symptoms & Treatment
|Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid gland is overactive and produces too much thyroid hormones more than the body needs.|
|Hypothyroidism is one of the chronic diseases in the world. Hypothyroidism is also known as underactive thyroid; hypo means under or below normal.|
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer
|Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a type of thyroid cancer that is rare and aggressive. It affects the thyroid gland and most especially its function.|
|Problems arise if the thyroid gland is overactive or underactive. There are three common thyroid disorders. These are hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism and the thyroid nodules.|
Thyroid Hair Loss
|Hair loss may happen for so many reasons but it is commonly associated to thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism.|
Thyroid Function Test
|Thyroid Function Tests are the different tests conducted to assess and determine the cause of an individual?s thyroid problems.|