The parathyroid glands are found alongside the thyroid gland in your neck.
There tend to be 4 glands but theses can vary in number from 2 to 5
The glands produce a hormone called parathyroid hormone.
Problems with the parathyroid gland tend to come to notice when an abnormality with the calcium level is detected.
An excess of parathyroid hormone is associated with a high calcium level, but is not the only cause for a high calcium level. A lack of parathyroid hormone is associated with a low calcium level. On occasions, surgery on the thyroid gland can damage the parathyroid glands.
A low parathyroid hormone, leading to a low calcium level, is treated by supplementing with calcium and or types of Vitamin D.
A high parathyroid hormone level may need no treatment. By and large, if treatment is required, then surgery to remove the overactive gland is required. This surgery is performed by specialist Endocrine surgeons or ENT surgeons (Ear Nose & Throat).
Vitamin D medication comes in low strength medication, ergocalciferol, which is available over the counter, or high strength medication, alfacalcidol or one-alfa, which are issued on prescription.
The Society for Endocrinology - Patient Information