Thyroid and Parathyroid

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As part of the endocrine system, the thyroid and parathyroid glands, located at the based of the neck, produce important hormones that can influence your whole body.

Changes in the thyroid hormone can mean changes in your energy level, growth, and even reproduction. The thyroid also helps to regulate free calcium levels so that changes can make an impact on bone strength as well. The thyroid gland is operated by both the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus and changes in either one can also affect the thyroid function.

Symptoms of thyroid disorders can include bloating, racing heart, tremors, menstrual changes, weight gain, and feeling too hot or too cold. Symptoms of parathyroid disorders can consist of excessive urination, abdominal pain, and nausea.

Disorders of the thyroid and parathyroid glands include:

  • Goiter – thyroid swelling;
  • Hyperthyroid – overactive thyroid
  • Hypothyroidism – underactive thyroid
  • Hyperparathyroidism – overactive parathyroid
  • Hyperparathyroidism – underactive parathyroid
  • Cancer of the thyroid.

Diagnosis of thyroid and parathyroid disorders are done by blood tests, ultrasound, fine needle aspiration, and biopsy. During your appointment, make sure that your physician checks all of the glands.

You may require an endocrinologist because the thyroid and parathyroid glands are part of the endocrine system.

While some thyroid disorders can be treated with medications, cancer of the thyroid requires surgery and so do some goiters. Graves’ disease may sometimes need thyroid surgery. With the removal of the thyroid, you may be prescribed levothyroxine, which is a synthetic thyroid replacement that treats hormone deficiency.

Parathyroid disorders are also treated with surgery. Removal of the parathyroid gland can mean standard operation. Minimally invasive parathyroid surgery should be discussed with your medical team as a treatment option.

If you experience any of the symptoms and they do not clear up, you might want to check with your family practice physician or endocrinologist.


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