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The Parathyroid Glands

Anatomy of the parathyroid glands

The parathyroid glands are two pairs of small, oval-shaped glands located adjacent to the two thyroid gland lobes in the neck.

Function of the parathyroid glands

Parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone, which plays a role in the regulation of calcium levels in the blood. Precise calcium levels are important in the human body, since small deviations can cause muscle and nerve impairment.

The parathyroid hormone stimulates the following functions:

  • Release of calcium by bones into the bloodstream

  • Absorption of calcium from food by the intestines

  • Conservation of calcium by the kidneys

Online Resources

National Cancer Institute  http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/parathyroid/patient
The Hormone Foundation  http://www.hormone.org/endo101/page2.cfm#cp_jump_839

© 2000-2011 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.