About Endocrine Glands

Endocrine glands release hormones into the blood stream of the body.

Some important areas of the endocrine glands are the thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands. The thyroid and parathyroid glands are located inside a person's neck while the adrenal glands are located in the abdominal region. Doctors Koep, Cashman, Brink, Fabrega, Van der Werf and Chaly perform surgery on the parathyroid and adrenal glands.

The only function of the thyroid gland is to make thyroid hormone which affects nearly all areas of the body because its job is to regulate the body's metabolism. The parathyroid glands are situated behind the thyroid in the neck however their function is not related. While the thyroid secrets thyroid hormone, the parathyroid's role is to regulate the level of calcium in the body. When a person's blood calcium level reaches below a certain point, calcium-sensing receptors in the parathyroid gland are activated to release parathyroid hormone into the blood and regulate calcium levels. Some times this regulation of calcium levels and production of parathyroid hormone does not function as it should.

Please view our adrenal glands page to learn more about the adrenal glands and diseases that affect them.

Diseases of the Endocrine Glands

While there are various diseases of the endocrine glands, the parathyroid is mainly affected by one major disease, hyperparathyroidism.

  • Hyperparathyroidism - A condition in which the parathyroid gland produces too much parathyroid hormone which depletes the body of necessary calcium. This can lead to severe osteoporosis, bone fractures, kidney stones and other health issues related to calcium production.
  • Parathyroid adenoma - A non-cancerous tumor of the parathyroid glands. Growth of this benign tumor is the most common cause of hyperparathyroidism.

Treatments Provided

by Arizona Transplant Associates

Doctors Cashman, Brink, Fabrega, Van der Werf and Chaly offer the following adrenal gland procedures:

  • Parathyroidectomy - During this procedure, the surgeon removes one or more of the parathyroid glands. Then the doctors monitors blood calcium levels to see if they return to acceptable levels.


American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), www.aace.com
Endocrine Society, www.endo-society.org
The Hormone Foundation, www.hormone.org
Medline Plus: Endocrine Glands, www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/1093.htm
Medline Plus: Parathyroid Glands, www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/8890.htm

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