The small, flattened parathyroid glands are embedded in the posterior surfaces of the lateral lobes of the thyroid gland, as shown in figure 11.28. There are usually four parathyroid glands: a superior and an inferior pair, although the precise number can vary. Each parathyroid gland is a small yellowish-brown body 3 to 8 mm (0.1 to 0.3 in.) long, 2 to 5 mm (0.07 to 0.2 in.) wide, and about 1.5 mm (0.05 in.) deep.
Test Yourself Before You Continue
1. Describe the structure of the thyroid gland and list the effects of thyroid hormones.
3. Explain the consequences of an inadequate dietary intake of iodine.
Decreasing blood Ca2+
■ Figure 11.28 A posterior view of the parathyroid glands. The parathyroids are embedded in the tissue of the thyroid gland.
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