These are two pairs of pea-sized glands found near the thyroid gland.
The hormone produced by these glands, called parathormone , helps control the level of the calcium in the blood. If the calcium level is low, the glands increase their hormone production which causes the bones to release more calcium into the blood. If the blood level of calcium is too high, the glands lessen their production of the hormone.
Estrogen stimulates the development of the female secondary sex characteristics, as well as the growth of the inner lining of the uterus in preparation for implantation and development of a fertilized egg.
In support of this reproductive function, the progesterone also promotes growth of the uterine lining.
Graves’ disease is a form of hyperthyroidism or the overproductivity of the thyroid gland. This is caused by an autoimmune disorder. The symptoms of this disease include increased appetite, weight gain, and dry skin. In some cases, a toxic goiter develops and the eyes bulge.
A long term treatment is needed for this disease. In some cases, one-dose radioactive iodine is used as treatment or the part of the gland is removed by surgery.
Underproductivity of the thyroid gland results in decreased production of thyroxin. A deficiency in thyroxin during the development of a fetus can cause cretinism. A cretin is short in height and has mental retardation.
Underproduction of the growth hormone causes dwarfism where the body proportions are normal but adult height does not exceed 1.2 meters. Adults with this height are referred to as midgets. Dwarfs are adults who are short and with body proportions that are not normal.
It is a disorder in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Without insulin, blood sugar level rises. Diabetes is found to run in families. Children of a diabetic parent may likely develop the disease.
Treatment of diabetes includes maintenance of normal weight, regular exercise, and proper diet. In cases where the patient is dependent on insulin, regular injection of insulin is recommended.