Thyroid and Parathyroid

The thyroid and parathyroid glands are both located in the neck area, are a part of the endocrine system and release essential hormones. Both glands should not be visible or felt through the neck when they are healthy.

The thyroid is wrapped around the trachea below the vocal cords. It secretes a hormone that regulates metabolic functions or the production of energy in your body. The thyroid also affects growth development and reproduction. Signs your thyroid is not healthy and functioning properly include fatigue, weight gain or loss, changes in heart rate, changes in energy or mood, hair loss, feeling too hot or cold, muscle problems or trembling and goiters.

Your doctor will look for an enlarged thyroid and prescribe a blood test that measures the thyroid hormone in your blood to diagnose a thyroid condition. Many of these conditions can be treated with medication, but some may require surgery. If the cause of thyroid problems is cancer, treatment will require surgery.

There are four parathyroid glands located on both sides of the thyroid. Though they are close in proximity, the parathyroid has completely different and separate functions than the thyroid. The parathyroid secretes a hormone that regulates calcium in blood and bones. If the parathyroid glands create too much calcium or too little calcium, you could be at risk for osteoporosis or stroke.

Signs there is a problem with your parathyroid glands include loss of energy, heartburn, frequent headaches, thinning hair, depression and heart palpitations.

Your doctor may scan the parathyroid glands to diagnose a diseased gland. The primary treatment of parathyroid problems is removal of the gland by surgery since medication will not cure this condition.

An ENT can diagnose and treat problems with the thyroid and parathyroid such as thyroid swelling or goiters, overactive thyroid, underactive thyroid, overactive parathyroidism, or thyroid cancer.