What is Parathyroid?
The parathyroid glands are small glands in the endocrine system lying near the thyroid gland in the neck area. There are four parathyroid glands that are normally the size of a single rice grain. In some normal cases, they can be as big as the size of a pea.
The parathyroid gland acts as a controller as it controls calcium levels in the body. This means that this endocrine gland controls how much calcium can be absorbed in the bones and how much calcium are released in the bloodstream. It should be understood that calcium is one important element needed by the body for its function. With this, calcium needs to be regulated carefully and parathyroid gland is responsible for it.
How it works?
The parathyroid gland can perform its function, which is regulating the amount of calcium in the body, by secreting one important hormone called the parathyroid hormone in the bloodstream. When the body’s calcium level is low, the parathyroid releases more hormones. On the other hand, when there is a high level of calcium, the parathyroid decreases the amount of hormones to be secreted.
However, one should understand that as soon as the parathyroid releases its parathyroid hormones, the bones in the body also tend to release some of its calcium content. With this, too much parathyroid activity in a long time can led to some major bone problems like weakening of the bones and osteoporosis.
Interesting Questions about Thyroid:
How is thyroid disease discovered?
As with any disease, it is important that you watch for the early warning signs. However, only your doctor can tell for sure whether or not you have thyroid disease. He or she can measure the amount of thyroid hormones in your blood, as well as look at the structure and function of your thyroid gland. If a nodule is found, your doctor can test whether or not it is cancerous.
What are the signs and symptoms of thyroid disease?
When your doctor examines you for thyroid disease, he or she should first ask about your symptoms and then check for physical signs. Your doctor will ask questions about your memory, emotions, or menstrual flow, and then check your heart rate, muscles, skin, and thyroid gland.
Which blood tests will my doctor use?
After a physical examination, your doctor may examine certain hormone levels in your blood. The most common tests check the levels of thyroid hormones (T4 and T3) and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Your doctor may also perform a test with an injection of thyrotropin releasing hormone (TRH). If your doctor suspects Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease, he or she will probably test you for antithyroid antibodies or thyroid stimulating antibodies.
What does the radioactive iodine uptake show?
Iodine is an important building-block for thyroid hormones. Your doctor may give you a small amount of radioactive iodine and then measure the amount absorbed by the thyroid gland. If the thyroid absorbs a lot of this iodine, you may be hyperthyroid. Low iodine uptake may signal hypothyroidism or thyroiditis.
Why is the structure of my thyroid important?
Which tests look at the structure of my thyroid?
- A thyroid image (or scan) shows the size, shape, and function of the gland. It uses a radioactive chemical, usually iodine or technetium, which the thyroid absorbs from the blood. A special camera then creates a picture, showing how much chemical was absorbed by each part of the gland. The test shows the size of the thyroid and tells whether lumps are hot (usually benign) or cold (either benign or malignant). The scan is frequently done at the same time as the radioactive iodine uptake.
- In needle aspiration biopsy, a small needle is inserted into the nodule in an effort to suck out (aspirate) cells. If the nodule is a fluid-filled cyst, the needle often removes some or all of the fluid. If the nodule is solid, several small samples are removed for examination under the microscope. Over 90% of the time, this testing tells the doctor whether the nodule is cancerous or not.
- Ultrasound uses high-pitch sound waves to find out whether a nodule is solid or filled with fluid. About 10% of nodules are fluid-filled cysts, and they are usually not cancerous. Ultrasound may also detect other nodules that are not easily felt by the doctor. The presence of multiple nodules reduces the likelihood of cancer.
How does radioactive iodine work?
The thyroid gland absorbs iodine from the blood. When radioactive iodine enters your thyroid, it slowly shrinks the gland over a period of weeks or months.
The treatment is safe, simple, convenient, and inexpensive. It is usually given only once, rarely causes any pain or swelling, and does not increase the risk of cancer. However, it must be avoided during pregnancy or nursing, and patients should not become pregnant for at least six months after treatment.
When is radioactive iodine used?
Radioactive iodine is the most common treatment for hyperthyroidism. It does not require hospitalization. About 90% of patients need only one treatment. They usually start getting better in three to six weeks, and most are cured within six months.
This treatment may also be used after surgery for certain thyroid cancers. Radioactive iodine dissolves any cancerous tissue that could not be removed by surgery. The dose of radioactive iodine is larger in this case, and patients usually stay in the hospital for a day or two.
What can be expected with radioactive iodine treatment for hyperthyroidism?
- It is usually given in liquid form or as a capsule. The dose can range from 4 to 29 millicuries.
- It is tasteless.
- There are almost never any side effects. In some rare cases, there can be an inflammation of the thyroid gland causing a sore throat and discomfort.
- Radioactive iodine not taken up by the thyroid gland is excreted in urine and saliva. There is no evidence that the small amount of I131 excreted in the urine and saliva is harmful. Nonetheless, prudent nuclear medicine experts have recommended a wide variety of precautions. While these recommendations are sometimes confusing and inconsistent, it may be appropriate to take a few simple measures to avoid unnecessary exposure of infants and children to I131. Treated patients should rinse out their glasses or cups and eating utensils immediately after drinking and eating. The toilet should be flushed immediately after use, and the rim of the bowl should be wiped dry, if necessary.
- It is advisable to drink two to three extra glasses of water a day during the four- to seven- day period following radioactive treatment so that radioactive material will not collect in the bladder for a long period of time.
- Because radioactive iodine passes into breast milk, breast feeding mothers are asked to wean their babies before treatment.
- It typically takes six weeks before thyroid hormone production is noticeably reduced. The average length of time for the thyroid hormone levels to become normal is about three to four months. If thyroid levels are not considerably reduced six months after treatment, the doctor might suggest repeating the treatment. Ninety percent of the time only one treatment is required; however, it might take as many as three attempts. The patient could be advised to take beta-blocking drugs and other medications the doctor believes are necessary until normal thyroid hormone production is restored.
- Many patients treated with radioactive iodine become hypothyroid. This may happen within weeks, months, or years of treatment. Therefore, patients should be aware of the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, and their physicians should monitor their thyroid hormone levels regularly. When the patient becomes hypothyroid, thyroid hormone replacement begins and continues for life-one pill a day.
What do antithyroid drugs do?
Antithyroid drugs block pathways leading to thyroid hormone production.
Antithyroid drugs used in this country are Propylthiouracil (PTU) and Tapazole®. Some physicians will recommend antithyroid medication as a first line of treatment to see if the patient is one of the lucky 30% of patients who go into a remission after taking antithyroid medication for one to two years. (Patients are said to be in remission if their hyperthyroidism does not recur after discontinuing the antithyroid drugs.) If antithyroid drugs do not work for the patient, then physicians usually recommend radioactive iodine.
Antithyroid drugs are also used to treat very young children, older patients with heart conditions, and pregnant women. For severe or complicated cases of hyperthyroidism, especially in older patients, PTU or Tapazole® can be given for four to six weeks to bring the hyperthyroidism under better control prior to administering radioactive iodine treatment.
In cases when women are diagnosed with Graves’ disease while they are pregnant, PTU is prescribed. The smallest dose possible is given because the medication does cross over to the fetus. The mother should be checked every three to four weeks during the pregnancy so that the lowest possible dose can be given. Too much PTU can cause fetal goiter, hypothyroidism, and mental retardation.
® Tapozole is a registered trademark of Jones Medical Industries.
Are there any side effects?
Antithyroid drugs cause side effects in about 10% of patients. Reactions can include:
- skin rash
- swollen, stiff, painful joints
- sore throat and fever
- low white blood count, which can lead to serious infections
- jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin) and, rarely, liver failure.
Most side effects clear up once the drugs are stopped. If you think you are having a reaction to anti-thyroid drugs, call your doctor immediately.
What can be expected with antithyroid drug treatment?
- Several pills are taken from one to four times a day, every day for six to 24 months.
- Some patients complain that the pills have an unpleasant smell and taste.
- There is usually some symptom relief within one to two weeks. In some cases, it can take several months to relieve symptoms.
- Antithyroid drugs have a relatively low success rate. While PTU or Tapazole® may correct the problem temporarily or for a few years, the chances of a permanent remission are about 30% once the drugs are stopped.
- The likelihood of achieving a permanent remission is increased if the patient takes the medication for one to two years.
- There are side effects in 10% of the people treated with Tapazole® or PTU. These are:
- skin rash over most of the body swollen, stiff, painful joints
- sore throat and fever — if this happens, the antithyroid drugs should be stopped immediately and the physician contacted
- liver damage, which is fatal in rare cases
- Because antithyroid drugs pass into breast milk, only PTU in a dosage less than 200 mg a day is advised if the baby is not weaned.
- Within 15 years, the thyroid gland may burn out, resulting in hypothyroidism, and the patient will need thyroid hormone replacement.
Have more questions? Need more answers? Check our Full Thyroid FAQ
Hyperparathyroidism and its symptoms
One condition that affects the parathyroid’s functions is hyperparathyroidism. Hyperparathyroidism is a disorder where one or more of the parathyroid glands develops into a tumour and in effect causes abnormalities by releasing excessive parathyroid hormones regardless of the calcium level. With this, the affected parathyroid gland is aid to lose its inhibitions and controls.
Some symptoms of this disorder include loss of energy in doing usual routine, los of concentration, onset of osteoporosis and swelling of the bones, difficultly in sleeping, gastric problems, kidney stones and high blood pressure.
There are available conventional methods that may address one’s problem in hyperparathyroidism. Some of which are drug therapy, radioactive iodine therapy and even surgery. However, one should also take into account the importance of healthy eating to prevent the onset of these diseases.
One should monitor one’s calcium and vitamin D intake. This will somehow help replenish the body’s supply of calcium, causing the parathyroid to stop releasing its hormone. Food like dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, beans, almonds can be eaten. More importantly, consult a physician for professional advice about parathyroid and its diseases.
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 is one of the thyroid cancer types. This type of thyroid cancer arises from the follicles in the thyroid gland.|
|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.|
|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.|
|Natural thyroid supplements are helpful as a remedy to thyroid disorders. Its natural ingredients assure one of its safeties in taking it.|
|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.|
|Following a healthy meal plan, exercise and proper medication goes hand in hand to treat hypothyroidism. Consult a physician for a more individualized plan.|
|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 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 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.|
|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 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 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 Tests are the different tests conducted to assess and determine the cause of an individual?s thyroid problems.|