Thyroid's "Silent" Sister Gland(s)

Each day as we see patients at Women's Health Practice we spend a lot of time on the thyroid gland, we examine the gland, we test for the brain, pituitary hormones, that control the thyroid, we look at the antiboidy levels, we look at the binding proteins, we spend time discussing the symptoms of over and under active thyroid, we perform ultrasound measurements, and yet its just not very often we have had a chance to talk about it's 'sister' gland the parathyroid, located right along side. The other 'silent sister' is the hormone calcitonin which is actually made in a specific cell type in the thyroid itself. The silence is really on the part of patients and physicians as this gland seems almost forgotten when compared to all the woes of some of the other, better known, glands. The parathyroid gland produces its eponymous parathyroid hormone and calcitonin. And now there is known protein called parathyroid hormone-related protein which is now know to help keep the uterus quiet. Parathyroid hormone activity is actually quite complex: vitamin D, magnesium, strontium, aluminum, calcium and phosphate in our system all can affect the performance of the gland. Calcitonin's role is more uniquely focused on the bone as far as we know, but it has affects on calcium metabolism. The knowledge we have now gathered on the complexity of the activity of Parathyroid hormone has made physicians realize that it has a wide ranging role in our metabolism, our cardiovascular and neurological systems as well as the more well known effects on calcium and bone. Watch for the developments on this hormone, there is a lot to learn!


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