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Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands – Why Are They Important?

The endocrine system is a complex configuration of several glands that control the electrical signals throughout the body. Two important parts of the endocrine system are the thyroid and the neighboring parathyroid glands.

The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ found in the base of the neck. Its main function is to release hormones that control metabolism and to regulate vital bodily functions, such as muscle strength, central ad peripheral nervous systems, heart rate, breathing, menstrual cycles, cholesterol, body temperature.

The thyroid uses iodine from the foods you eat to make two hormones: Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4). Keeping both T3 and T4 levels balanced is important. When the thyroid gland doesn’t communicate with the pituitary and hypothalamus glands correctly, it will cause an imbalance. When you have too much T3 and T4 in the body, you have a condition called Hyperthyroidism. When there is not enough T3 and T4 in the body, the condition is called Hypothyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms:

  • Irritability or Anxiety

  • Nervousness or hyperactivity

  • Trembling hands

  • Hair loss

  • Sweating or sensitivity to high temps

  • Missed or light menstrual periods

Hypothyroidism Symptoms:

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Depression

  • Sensitivity to cold temps

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Dry skin and brittle hair

  • Joint and muscle pain

  • Frequent, heavy menstrual periods

Another important part of the endocrine system are the Parathyroid glands. These four, small glands are located behind the Thyroid. Their number one priority is continuously monitoring and regulating calcium levels in our blood and bones. They produce a hormone called PTH (Parathyroid Hormone), which keeps our calcium “in check.” Calcium is used in the body for 3 different reasons:

  • Calcium provides electrical energy to our nervous system; calcium is what the body uses to conduct electrical impulses along our nerves.

  • Calcium provides electrical energy to our muscular system; muscles use the changes in calcium levels to energize the muscles to contract.

  • Calcium provides strength to our skeletal system. Bones are a storage system and regulator of calcium, acting as a bank to make deposits and withdrawals.

When we have a calcium imbalance, it means that your nervous systems and muscular systems will not function properly. The single, most common issues are over-active parathyroid glands. When one of the glands make too much PTH, it causes the calcium in the blood to be very high. This is called hyperparathyroidism. It is very rare to have hypoparathyroidism, which is very low calcium in the blood.

In either case, you’ll start noticing changes in how you feel. Calcium imbalances can cause mood swings, depression, extreme fatigue, and other issues much like thyroid issues. If you feel that you have excessive fatigue and mood swings, it’s probably time you spoke with an ENT. Contact us today to schedule an appointment: (770) 237-3000

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