Is Your Parathyroid Just a Pair of Thyroids?

We asked this very question to the best ENT in Houston. While the doc did applaud our fun play on words we were informed that we were quite mistaken.

The thyroid and parathyroid are separate glands located in your neck. Each serves an important function: the thyroid generates a hormone that regulates the body’s metabolism, while the parathyroid controls the level of calcium in the blood. Together, they are responsible for many of your body’s daily functions.

What Hormones Are Produced By Your Thyroid & Parathyroid?

Your thyroid produces thyroid hormone (TH) that controls your body’s energy production and consumption. This hormone helps regulate a variety of body processes including heart rate, body temperature and how quickly you burn calories. When too much or too little hormone is generated, your health is negatively affected.

Your parathyroid produces a hormone (PTH) that is used to regulate calcium and phosphorous levels in the body. Bone and tooth development and strength are dependent on calcium.

Too much or too little of these hormones can cause a problem.

what happens with Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism occurs when your body produces too much (TH) hormones. This causes the metabolism to speed up, leading to rapid or irregular heartbeat, anxiety, irritability, nervousness, fatigue, heat intolerance, excessive sweating, tremors, weight loss and increased bowel movements. Hyperthyroidism can be caused by an autoimmune disorder known as Grave’s disease, nodules, goiter, inflammation of the thyroid gland and too much iodine. The condition is usually treated with drugs such as beta-blockers, antithyroid medications like methimazole, radioactive iodine or surgery.

What is Hyperparathyroidism

Hyperparathyroidism occurs when too much PTH is secreted into the bloodstream. This creates an imbalance of high calcium levels and low phosphorous levels. Symptoms include osteoporosis, kidney stones, bone and joint pain, weakness, lethargy, loss of concentration, depression, loss of appetite, constipation, nausea and vomiting. The cause may be linked to a benign tumor or enlarged parathyroid gland. Parathyroid surgery is the preferred treatment for hyperparathyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism

Hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism. When too little TH hormone is produced, the metabolism slows down. Symptoms include depression, fatigue, sore muscles, dry skin, puffy face, swollen legs, weight gain, constipation and sensitivity to cold. An autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Others include an inflammation of the thyroid gland called lymphocytic thyroiditis, thyroid destruction following radioactive iodine treatment or surgery, pituitary gland injury and iodine deficiency. Treatment for this disorder involves life-long therapy with synthetic thyroid hormone.

Hypoparathyroidism Effects

Hypoparathyroidism occurs when too little PTH is produced and causes calcium levels in the blood to drop while phosphorous levels rise. This condition causes weakness, anxiety, fatigue, muscle aches and cramps, headaches, muscle spasms, cataracts, depression, mood swings, memory loss and tingling sensations in the fingers, toes and lips. Injury to the parathyroid glands, endocrine disorders and genetic conditions are the most common causes of hypoparathyroidism. Calcium carbonate and vitamin D supplements are given to restore the proper balance of calcium and phosphorous in the body.

To learn more about your thyroid and parathyroid or to share any more gland-based puns, contact your Houston ENT.

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