The Parathyroid Glands
Anatomy of the parathyroid glands
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