The thyroid and parathyroid are both glands in the neck that are responsible for producing hormones. The thyroid regulates the body’s metabolism, while the parathyroid controls the levels of calcium in the body. Both are prone to disorders involving abnormal amounts of hormone production.
Thyroid & Parathyroid Disorders
When the thyroid produces too much hormone, a condition called hyperthyroidism occurs. Metabolism speeds up and causes a rapid or irregular heartbeat, nervousness, irritability, sweating, sensitivity to heat and weight loss. This is typically treated with beta-blockers, iodide, methimiaole or radioactive iodine therapy.
Conversely, when too little hormone is produced, the condition is called hypothyroidism and is marked by a slowed-down metabolism that causes fatigue, constipation, muscle aches and pains, facial puffiness, dry skin, sensitivity to cold and weight gain. Treatment with synthetic hormone replacement therapy is the usual course of action.
Similar conditions can affect the parathyroid glands. Hyperparathyroidism occurs when excess hormone is produced, leading to an overabundance of calcium in the blood. Symptoms include osteoporosis, lack of energy, abdominal pain, kidney stones, bone and joint pain, depression, loss of concentration, nausea and vomiting. Surgery is the most common treatment, which is successful in more than 90 percent of cases.
When the parathyroid glands produce too little hormone, the condition is known as hypoparathyroidism. Low calcium levels in the blood cause an increase in phosphorous and a tingling or burning sensation in the fingertips, toes and lips; muscle aches and cramps; fatigue; weakness; anxiety; headaches; muscle spasms in the hands, arms, throat and around the mouth; depression; mood swings and memory loss. Calcium supplements and Vitamin D are useful in treating this condition.