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The Parathyroid Glands

Anatomy of the parathyroid glands

Illustration of the parathyroid glands and their location
Parathyroid Glands - Click to Enlarge

The parathyroid glands are two pairs of small, oval-shaped glands located adjacent to the two thyroid gland lobes in the neck.

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 deviations can cause muscle and nerve impairment.

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

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 8/19/2014
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