Parathyroid glands

There are four parathyroid glands, each the size of a grain of rice, in your neck behind the thyroid gland, They produce parathyroid hormone (PTH) which helps control the levels of calcium , phosphorus and vitamin D within the bones and blood.

This is important because these levels can naturally fluctuate and need to be kept within a healthy range for the body to function properly. For example, calcium levels can rise if you eat a dairy-rich meal, and can fall if you take certain medication.

The parathyroid glands are nothing to do with the thyroid gland. 'Parathyroid' means 'near the thyroid'. Parathyroid disorders shouldn't be confused with an underactive thyroid or overactive thyroid .

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018