Thyroid vs Parathyroid: What’s the Difference?

Thyroid vs Parathyroid

Thyroid disorders and Parathyroid disorders are frequent disorders of the head and neck. The ears, nose, and throat are physically separate, but they are connected by tubes and passages in the head and neck region. As a result, some head and neck conditions have symptoms that affect the ears, nose, and throat. Anne Arundel ENT and Facial Plastic Surgery can help you learn more about the differences between the thyroid and parathyroid glands, the disorders that occur in each, and the treatments available.

The Different Functions of Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands

The thyroid and parathyroid glands are hormone-secreting glands. These hormones affect various metabolic processes

The thyroid is composed of two glands that are situated on either side of the windpipe in the throat. It regulates metabolism, the heart, and the production of hormones in the digestive system. 

Conversely, the parathyroid glands are situated behind the thyroid gland. Their role is the production of parathyroid hormone (PTH), which is instrumental in regulating calcium and phosphorus levels in the body.

Types Of Disorders That Happen In The Thyroid and Parathyroid Glands

Different types of disorders happen in the thyroid and parathyroid glands. Unfortunately, the thyroid gland is known to suffer from many problems, such as:

  • Thyroid nodule: An abnormal growth that appears as one or more lumps in the thyroid gland. While most thyroid nodules are benign and cause no symptoms, testing is still needed to make sure they are not a threat.

  • Hyperthyroidism: Occurs when the body produces too much thyroid hormone and can cause weight loss, increased heart rate, and mood swings.

  • Hypothyroidism: Occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone and can cause fatigue and a drop in metabolism.

  • Thyroid cancer: Can occur in many forms, including papillary, follicular, medullary, and lymphoma. Thyroid cancer can cause neck pain and/or pressure, difficulty swallowing, and excessive coughing.

The parathyroid gland is also susceptible to a variety of conditions. When your parathyroid glands disrupt the balance of calcium and phosphorus, it can lead to:

Hyperparathyroidism: When the body produces too much parathyroid hormone (PTH).

  • Primary hyperparathyroidism: Overproduction of PTH is due to parathyroid adenomas, hyperplasia, and carcinoma.

  • Secondary hyperparathyroidism: Overproduction of PTH is caused by low levels of calcium and high levels of phosphate, usually due to kidney failure. This can lead to joint pain, loss of appetite, thirst, constipation, and depression.

  • Persistent hyperparathyroidism: Calcium levels never balance out after treatment, which means continued treatment is required.

  • Recurrent hyperparathyroidism: The problem returns six months after initial treatment, which means continued treatment is required.

Hypoparathyroidism: Low calcium and phosphate levels result when the body does not produce enough PTH. This can cause muscle cramps, pain, seizures, dry skin, difficulty walking, memory loss, and nervousness.

Treating Thyroid And Parathyroid Disorders

There are several treatments available for thyroid and parathyroid disorders. Depending on the severity, Anne Arundel ENT & Facial Plastic Surgery offers a variety of minimally invasive thyroid procedures such as:

  • Minimally invasive thyroidectomy (removal of the entire thyroid gland)

  • Minimally invasive thyroid lobectomy (removal of half of the thyroid gland)

  • TV-Assisted Thyroidectomy

  • Microincision Thyroid Surgery

Minimally invasive parathyroid procedures include:

  • Minimally invasive parathyroidectomy: During this procedure, one or more parathyroid glands are removed to treat hyperparathyroidism.

  • Bilateral neck examination for hyperparathyroidism: Bilateral neck examination for hyperparathyroidism is used in the most complicated cases of hyperparathyroidism. During this procedure, all parathyroid organs are checked for possible disease and, if necessary, removed.

  • Endoscopic Parathyroidectomy: The procedure provides a magnified view of the parathyroid glands, allowing the procedure to be performed safely.

If you are suffering from a condition or disease that is affecting your ears, nose, or throat, Anne Arundel ENT and Facial Plastic Surgery are experienced in the medical and surgical management of head and neck conditions, including Thyroid disease and Parathyroid disease. If you are interested in receiving these treatments or medispa procedures and facial plastic surgery please call 410-573-9191 to make an appointment.

Lee A. Kleiman a doctor at Anne Arundel ENT

Dr. Lee A. Kleiman is a double board certified ENT & plastic surgeon at Anne Arundel ENT in Annapolis, Maryland known for his superior clinical outcomes in all Surgical and Non-Surgical ENT, specializing in Sinus Care, Voice and Swallowing, Rhinoplasty and Revision Rhinoplasty, and Facelifts and Non-surgical Aesthetic. He also continues to attend conferences internationally and nationally to keep abreast of the latest treatments and technology.