Health Glossary - For Everyone

Parathyroid glands
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What are the parathyroid glands?

The parathyroid glands are endocrine (or homone-producing) glands that are located at the back of the thryoid gland. There are four parathyroid glands, two one each lobe (left and right) of the thyroid.

The parathyroid glands are very small, they are about the size and shape of a grain of rice.

The parathyroid glands produce a hormone called parathyroid hormone, which regulates the amount of calcium in the blood, to enable the nervous and muscular systems to function properly.


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Important parathyroid glands facts

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Why the parathyroid glands are important

The parathyroid hormones are very important because they control the levels of calcium in the blood, by sampling the blood passing through them.

When there is a decreased level of calcium in the blood, the parathyroid glands release parathyroid hormone (PTH) to enable the following:

The parathyroid glands can start to produce too much parathyroid hormone which can increase the levels of calcium in the blood too much and cause many health problems. The condition that this refers to is:


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Last reviewed: 30 September 2007 || Last updated: 14 March 2010


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More information

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NOTE: Mega doses of any type of vitamin, mineral, amino acid or herbal supplement cannot cure illnesses and in fact can be very dangerous and produce toxic side effects and interfere with medicine you are taking. Always ensure you consult your doctor before taking any type of complementary supplements.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. For any treatment or diagnosis of illness, please see your doctor.


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