Search Menu
Search entire library by keyword
OR
Choose by letter to browse topics
A B C D E F G H I J K LM N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
(A-Z listing includes diseases, conditions, tests and procedures)
 

Parathyroid Glands

Anatomy of the parathyroid glands

Illustration of the parathyroid glands and their location
Parathyroid Glands - Click to Enlarge

The parathyroid glands are two pairs of small, oval-shaped glands. They are located next to the two thyroid gland lobes in the neck. Each gland is usually about the size of a pea.

Function of the parathyroid glands

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

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

  • Stimulates cells in the kidney to transforms weaker forms of vitamin D into the form that is strongest at absorbing calcium from the intestines

More Information About Parathyroid Conditions from Johns Hopkins Medicine

Gwen

Neck Surgery’s Scarless Alternative

More than a year after her initial sore throat, Gwen met with head and neck surgeon Jonathon Russell, at Johns Hopkins to discuss a thyroidectomy. When she explained her symptoms, such as low bone density, fatigue and kidney stones, Russell ordered additional tests. “Her symptoms were not consistent with that I would have expected,” he recalls. The test revealed abnormally high calcium, vitamin D and parathyroid hormone levels in her blood.

Russell formally diagnosed Gwen with hyperparathyroidism caused by a parathyroid nodule.

Read more.

Experience Our Care

Find a physician at another Johns Hopkins Member Hospital:
Connect with a Treatment Center:
Find Additional Treatment Centers at: