Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands (Superior Cross-section View)

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly and usually weighs less than one ounce. The thyroid cartilage covers the larynx and produces the prominence on the neck known as the Adam's Apple. The thyroid gland controls the rate at which the body produces energy from nutrients. If the body does not get enough iodine, the thyroid gland cannot produce a proper amount of hormones for this conversion process. The result can be a goiter, an enlargement of the thyroid gland. In some parts of the...

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    Full Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands (Superior Cross-section View) Description

    [Continued from above] . . . world, iodine is so scarce that most of the population has goiters. The thyroid gland also secretes hormones that regulate energy, and emotional balance may rely upon its normal functioning. When the rate of production is excessive, the results can be weight loss, nervousness, or even emotional disturbances. If the rate of production is excessively low, a slowing of bodily functions may result.

    The parathyroid glands are four small oval bodies located on either side of, and on, the dorsal aspect of the thyroid gland. These glands control the level of calcium in the blood. Calcium is important, not only for bones and teeth, but also for nerve functioning, muscle contractions, blood clotting and glandular secretion. If we don't have enough calcium for these functions, the body will take it from the bones, causing them to weaken and increasing the risk of fracture. Calcium deficiency may also cause twitching, spasms, convulsions and even death, while too much calcium can lead to a weakening of muscle tone and kidney stones.