Most people have heard of the thyroid gland, but have you heard of the parathyroid glands? Though these glands have similar names, they serve completely different functions in the body. In this article, we’ll explore how the thyroid and parathyroid differ, and how they impact your overall health.
Understanding The Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands
First off, let’s provide a brief overview of the thyroid and parathyroid glands:
- The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the windpipe, right under the larynx. It produces two main thyroid hormones that regulate a variety of bodily processes, including metabolism and energy levels.
- The parathyroid glands are four very small glands that are positioned behind the thyroid gland. They produce parathyroid hormone, which regulates the amount of calcium in the blood.
How Are The Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands Different?
There are several key differences between the thyroid and parathyroid glands, including:
One of the most significant differences between the thyroid and parathyroid glands is their functions in the body. The thyroid uses iodine from your diet and tyrosine, an amino acid, to produce thyroid hormones. These hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), help regulate the metabolism, internal body temperature, weight, energy levels, and the growth of your hair, skin, and nails.
The parathyroid glands produce parathyroid hormone, or PTH, which manages calcium levels in the bloodstream. PTH ensures that the body’s calcium levels don’t fall below a certain point, as calcium is crucial for the function of the musculoskeletal, nervous, and cardiovascular systems.
The thyroid and parathyroid glands can develop different medical conditions. Thyroid problems that can arise include:
- Graves disease
Problems that can occur with the parathyroid glands include hyperparathyroidism and hyperparathyroidism.
The team at ENT Associates provides expert care for thyroid and parathyroid problems. Schedule an appointment today to learn more!