While the parathyroid glands are located right next to the familiar sounding thyroid gland, they have no related function. The thyroid gland regulates the body’s metabolism, while parathyroid glands regulate calcium levels.
The sole purpose of the parathyroid glands is to control calcium within the blood in a very tight range. In doing so, the glands control calcium levels in the bones, which affects the strength and density of the bones. Calcium is also the primary element which causes muscles to contract.
The Role of Calcium in Parathyroid Function
Calcium is the element that allows the normal conduction of electrical currents along nerves. It allows our nerves to communicate, and our nervous system to work. In fact, our entire brain works by fluxes of calcium in and out of the nerve cells. Understanding these functions of calcium helps explain why people can get a tingling sensation in their fingers, or cramps in the muscles of their hands, when calcium levels drop below normal. The brain demands normal calcium levels, and any change in the amount of calcium can cause the brain to create emotional and mental imbalances.
The Parathyroid Monitoring System
The very rich blood supply of the four parathyroid glands is used to monitor the calcium level in the blood 24 hours a day. This monitoring system runs constantly, thereby maintaining calcium and parathyroid hormone in a very narrow but normal range. In an attempt to keep the calcium level in the normal range so our brain and muscles function properly, normal parathyroid glands will turn on and off dozens of times per day.
Those of us with normal parathyroid function will have calcium levels that are constant, with almost zero variability. This can be compared to somebody that has a bad parathyroid gland, which has lost its regulatory system. These people have calcium levels that bounce around from high to low, almost never remaining steady for long.
Dr. Larian is proud to provide his patients with a comprehensive medical practice designed with the patient in mind. He created the practice with the goal of being able to provide a wide range of treatments, from simple single visit procedures to complex solutions that require long-term follow-up.
If you would like to know more about the parathyroid function, schedule a consultation with renowned Beverly Hills parathyroid expert Dr. Larian by calling 310.461.0300 today!