The Parathyroid Gland Quick Facts About Your

The Parathyroid Gland
Quick Facts
About Your
The parathyroid
is constantly
monitoring your
body’s calcium
level in the blood. When the
calcium level is detected to be too
low, the four small glands of the
parathyroid secrete more of the
parathyroid hormone (PTH) and when
calcium levels are too high, less
is secreted.
The parathyroid gland is very
important to the well being of the
brain, muscles, and bones, because
calcium is an extremely important
factor in the proper function of
the nervous, muscular, and skeletal
Where is this
parathyroid gland?
The parathyroid glands are two
pairs (four altogether) of small,
oval-shaped glands embedded in the
rear of the Thyroid gland in the
neck. They weigh about 1.6g and are
a yellowish color. The main
function is to keep Calcium in the
blood at a balanced level so when
it gets low these glands kick in to
bring it back up and vice versa.
Each gland is normally about the
size of a pea.
What does it do?
The Parathyroid glands secrete a
parathyroid hormone, (PTH) which
helps in the regulation of calcium
levels in the blood. We need
precise levels of calcium in our
bodies as a subtle change can affect
us. Hypothyroidism and
Hyperthyroidism is when we produce
too much or not enough so we need to
keep balanced.
There are two types of cells in the
parathyroid gland. Oxyphils have an
unknown function and chief cells produce
the parathyroid hormone (PTH) that
monitors the circulating concentration
of calcium ions. When calcium levels
fall below normal they secrete PTH
increasing Calcium. There are several
effects from this hormone. The first is
that PTH stimulates osteoclasts,
accelerating mineral turnover and
release of calcium from the bones.
Secondly it inhibits osteoblasts,
reducing the rate of calcium deposition
in bone. Thirdly it enhances the reabsorption of calcium at the kidneys,
reducing urinary losses. And lastly, it
stimulates the formation and secretion
of calcitriol at the kidneys.
The parathyroid gland is one of the
body’s (specifically the muscular,
nervous, and skeletal system’s)
homeostatic devices,
because it controls the
level of calcium in the
body’s blood. The
hormone these glands
secrete circulates in
the body and removes
calcium from the bones,
when blood calcium
levels are too low. This means it is
essential to the skeletal system, and
when something goes wrong with the
parathyroid, something also goes wrong
with your bones. When the parathyroid
gland gives off too much PTH, it causes
the bones in our body to release too
much calcium, in an attempt to raise
calcium levels in the blood stream.
This is dangerous, because calcium is
essential to the rigidity and strength
of bones. This results in bones with a
lack of calcium, causing them to be
abnormally weak; a condition called
Osteopenia, or more commonly,
Osteoporosis. Bones with this condition
have more hollow pores and less bone
mass. Over time, this causes the bones
to become brittle and easily broken or
The parathyroid gland works
essentially like the body’s
thermostat for blood calcium levels,
in the way it detects and responds.
When one gland has a tumor as
described above, and does not
respond to high levels of calcium,
but instead keeps producing PTH. The
resulting high blood levels of
calcium can have negative effects on
the nervous system (brain), such as
moodiness, depression, and
tiredness. Often times, this has
negative effects on the three other
normal glands, because they will
have gone dormant due to the high
levels of calcium in the blood. When
the malfunctioning gland is
surgically removed, it will often
take two or three weeks for the
other glands to begin working again,
and it is recommended that patients
take calcium supplements so that
their calcium levels are not too
low, causing illness. When blood
calcium levels are too low, the
effects on the nervous system can
include sweating, anxiety, and
When Something Goes
This condition of
the parathyroid
gland happens
when the glands
produce an
excess of PTH, as
mentioned in the
article about
The glands do
not accurately
detect the level
of calcium in the
blood, and therefore
continue to produce PTH even when
the body’s calcium levels are
normal. One of the most common
causes of this problem is the
presence of a benign tumor in one
of the glands, because it causes
the gland to become enlarged; a
symptom known as adenoma. Since one
of the glands is so much larger, it
secretes more than the needed
amount of PTH, while the other
glands shut down. Instead of being
normally about the size of a pea,
the gland with the tumor can become
as large as a walnut. Parathyroid
disease is very uncommon (more
common in women than in men), yet
very difficult to operate on, and
can cause many symptoms. Usually
people in their fifties are most
susceptible to this disease.
Pugsy Parathyroid
Everyone knows that keeping their
pet healthy is important; especially
dogs as wonderful as pugs. In order
to assure maximum health for your
pug, here are some tips to keep him
running and playing just like when
he was a pup.
Be sure to feed him quality dog
food that will provide him with all
of his daily value of calcium, in
order to keep his bones strong. If
your dog’s calcium level drops too
low, the parathyroid gland will
activate his bones to release more
calcium into the bloodstream, but if
there is not enough calcium in his
bones to begin with, it will take
what little calcium is there,
causing the bones to become brittle
and weak due to a lack of calcium.
This is why quality dog food is
important, along with a daily bowl
of milk for your pug.
Be sure that you pug gets plenty
of exercise. This will not only
benefit his bone strength, and body
physique, but will benefit his
overall health including the
condition of his parathyroid gland—
that handy little homeostatic
device that is so essential to your
dog’s health.
Take your pug to the vet for
on the
of his
parathyroid gland, because if his
glands are not working, he will not
be able to effectively absorb the
calcium in his diet. The PTH causes
the lining of the intestines to
efficiently absorb calcium from his
Sources: Google, and