Parathyroid gland and its function

parathyroid gland, hormones secreted and it’s functions

The parathyroid glands are four small glands located in the neck, behind the thyroid gland. They are responsible for producing parathyroid hormone (PTH), which helps to regulate calcium levels in the blood.

PTH works by increasing the release of calcium from the bones and decreasing the amount of calcium excreted in the urine. This helps to ensure that there is enough calcium in the blood for the body to function properly.

Calcium is essential for many bodily functions, including:

  • Muscle contraction
  • Nerve function
  • Blood clotting
  • Bone health

If the parathyroid glands do not produce enough PTH, calcium levels in the blood can drop too low. This can lead to a condition called hypoparathyroidism, which can cause symptoms such as muscle cramps, tingling in the hands and feet, and seizures.

If the parathyroid glands produce too much PTH, calcium levels in the blood can rise too high. This can lead to a condition called hyperparathyroidism, which can cause symptoms such as kidney stones, bone pain, and fatigue.

Parathyroid gland disorders can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Genetic mutations
  • Tumors
  • Neck surgery

Parathyroid gland disorders are diagnosed with blood tests and imaging tests. Treatment for parathyroid gland disorders depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the symptoms.

In some cases, parathyroid gland disorders can be treated with medication or surgery. In other cases, no treatment is necessary and the symptoms can be managed with lifestyle changes.

Here are some tips for keeping your parathyroid glands healthy:

  • Eat a healthy diet that is rich in calcium and vitamin D.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Get regular checkups and screenings for parathyroid gland disorders.

Parathyroid hormone, also called parathormone or parathyrin, is a hormone secreted by the parathyroid that regulates the serum calcium concentration through its effects on bone, kidney, and intestine” according to my favourite website.

Position of the parathyroid glands in the body.

the parathyroid gland is located within the anterior region of the neck very close to the location of the thyroid gland.

hormonal structure

Hormones secreted by the parathyroid

The only hormone secreted by this gland is called parathormone.

Function of the parathyroid gland

One of the major functions of the parathyroid gland is it control the level of calcium content in the blood

The parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone. This hormone helps maintain an appropriate balance of calcium in the bloodstream and in tissues that depend on calcium for proper function

Effects and consequences of malfunctioning parathyroid

Parathyroid hormone helps prevent low calcium levels by acting on the bones, intestine, and kidneys. In the bones, the hormone triggers the release of calcium stores from the bones to the blood. This can lead to bone destruction. In the intestines, the parathyroid hormone helps with vitamin D metabolism”

Here’s how the parathyroid glands and PTH function:

  1. Calcium Regulation: Parathyroid hormone (PTH) is released by the parathyroid glands in response to low blood calcium levels. PTH acts to raise blood calcium levels through various mechanisms:
    • Stimulation of Bone Resorption: PTH stimulates the release of calcium from bones into the bloodstream. It does this by increasing the activity of cells called osteoclasts, which break down bone tissue.
    • Enhancement of Calcium Absorption: PTH increases the absorption of calcium from the intestines into the bloodstream.
    • Reabsorption of Calcium: PTH promotes the reabsorption of calcium in the kidneys, reducing the loss of calcium in urine.
  2. Phosphorus Regulation: In addition to calcium regulation, PTH also has an effect on phosphorus levels. It reduces the reabsorption of phosphorus in the kidneys, which helps to maintain an appropriate balance of calcium and phosphorus in the body.

The parathyroid glands and PTH play a crucial role in maintaining calcium homeostasis, ensuring that there is enough calcium available for various physiological processes.

Imbalances in PTH secretion or function can lead to disorders such as:

  1. Hyperparathyroidism: This condition occurs when the parathyroid glands produce too much PTH, leading to elevated blood calcium levels. It can result from a benign tumour on one of the parathyroid glands (parathyroid adenoma) or other causes. Hyperparathyroidism can lead to kidney stones, bone loss (osteoporosis), and other health problems.
  2. Hypoparathyroidism: Hypoparathyroidism is characterized by insufficient PTH production by the parathyroid glands, leading to low blood calcium levels. This can result from surgery to remove or damage the parathyroid glands, autoimmune conditions, or other factors. It can cause muscle cramps, seizures, and other neurological symptoms.

Diagnosis and management of parathyroid disorders typically involve blood tests to measure calcium and PTH levels.

Treatment may involve medications to regulate calcium levels or, in some cases, surgical intervention to remove overactive parathyroid tissue or transplant parathyroid tissue to address hypoparathyroidism.


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