Although their names maybe similar, thyroid and parathyroid glands each have their own specific job. In fact, every cell in your body depends on the thyroid glands functioning properly.
The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and it is located in the front of your neck – just below your voice box (aka: larynx) and its main function is to regulate your metabolism. Your metabolism is the body’s ability to break down food and convert it into much needed energy.
The parathyroid glands are four (4) tiny (pea sized) glands that are situated behind the thyroid gland. These glands produce parathyroid hormone (PTH) which in conjunction with the hormone that the pituitary gland produces, helps to keep calcium and phosphorous levels balanced in your bloodstream.
Some common thyroid disorders include:
Nodules or lumps on the thyroid are common and about 95% are non-cancerous. For the most part, nodules are monitored throughout your life to make sure they are not growing or become cancerous.
Goiters are enlarged thyroid glands.
Some common parathyroid disorders include:
Hyperparathyroidism is an over activity of one or more of the parathyroid glands. This is a common disorder; however, if left untreated can lead to brittle bones that will easily fracture and/or break. Grave’s Disease is an outcome of untreated hyperthyroidism and this auto-immune disease affects more women than their male counterparts.
Hypothyroidism is basically when your blood will have an excess of phosphorous and not enough calcium. Treatment is usually a prescription that is designed to mimic natural hormones and to restore the balance between calcium and phosphorus.
Tumors are usually genetic and most are not cancerous.
How are thyroid and parathyroid disorders diagnosed?
Since many of the symptoms associated with these disorders are mild and non-characteristic – a full family history, physical exam, and blood work is the first place to start to properly diagnosing these disorders. Then an ultrasound of the neck may be ordered to identify any abnormalities.
Call our office today and make an appointment to have your thyroids checked.