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Parathryroid Gland

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Updated January 28, 2008

Definition:

Small, roughly circular structures located in the front of the neck, near the larynx (Adam’s apple), on top of the thyroid.

Humans have two parathyroid glands, one on each side (right and left) of the thyroid gland.

The parathyroid glands secrete parathyroid hormone (PTH), which regulates the concentrations of calcium and phosphorus in the body by changing the rate of:

  • formation and destruction of bone tissue
  • absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the digestive system
  • filtration and elimination of calcium and phosphorus by the kidneys

The action of the parathyroid glands can be influenced by vitamin D and abnormal parathyroid gland function has been linked to some types of high blood pressure.

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