The parathyroid is part of a network of endocrine glands that help regulate functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, sleep, mood, and tissue function by releasing essential hormones. Many glands in the endocrine system work together to manage these body functions. The parathyroid glands are four small, circular glands inside the four lobes of the thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the throat. Hypoparathyroidism is a condition that arises because of problems with or absence of the parathyroid.
An acquired condition is one caused by an external event. In the case of hypoparathyroidism, the main acquired cause is surgical removal of the thyroid -- a thyroidectomy -- which also removes the parathyroid glands. Also, factors that affect blood supply to the thyroid can likewise affect the parathyroid. In rare cases, radiation in the vicinity of the neck can cause hypoparathyroidism.
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