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Your Parathyroid Glands

One adenoma and 3 normal parathyroids behind the normal thyroid.Parathyroid glands are small glands of the endocrine system that are located behind the thyroid. There are four parathyroid glands which are normally about the size and shape of a grain of rice. They are shown in this picture as the mustard yellow glands behind the pink thyroid gland. This is their normal color.

The sole purpose of the parathyroid glands is to regulate the calcium level in our bodies within a very narrow range so that the nervous and muscular systems can function properly. Although they are neighbors and both part of the endocrine system, the thyroid and parathyroid glands are otherwise unrelated. The single major disease of parathyroid glands is overactivity of one or more of the parathyroids; that's hyperparathyroidism.

To make information about parathyroid disorders more understandable, we have separated our parathyroid pages into specific topics. Once you read about a topic, more detailed information is available if you want it.