The pituitary gland is located in a special hollowed-out place in the base of the skull. This gland manufactures several important chemicals, known as hormones. These hormones are supplied to the bloodstream and have so much to do with controlling all the other glands in the body that the pituitary is often called the “master gland.” If a person’s pituitary supplies too little of certain hormones, that person may never grow properly and might even become a dwarf. If it secretes too much, the person might grow to become a giant. Luckily, it almost always secretes just the right amount, allowing us to grow to the right height.
The Pharynx, or Throat
The pharynx, or throat, is located behind the mouth and nose. It is a passageway for the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the fluids we drink. At its lower end it divides into two parts: the esophagus, for food and drink, and the larynx and trachea, which carry air into the lungs.
The Parathyroid Glands
The parathyroids are four pea-sized glands located in the neck behind the thyroid gland. They make a hormone that controls the way calcium and phosphorus behave in the body. These minerals are important because they help keep bones and muscles in good condition.
2. The Tongue
The tongue is a large muscle with a membrane covering it, located, as we know, in the floor of the mouth. With the membranes of the tongue we are able to taste. The muscles of the tongue also help us to chew food properly, and we use these same muscles in speaking.
3. The Tonsils
The tonsils are two glands, one on each side of the throat, behind the tongue. We don’t know for sure what the tonsils are supposed to do, but some doctors think they are helpful in preventing germs from entering the body. All too often, the tonsils themselves become infected, and, in some cases, they must be removed.
4. The Adenoids
The adenoids are glands high up in back of the throat behind the nose. No one really knows what their function is, but we do know that in young children they often become enlarged. When that happens, it is easier for the child to breathe through the mouth rather than the nose. If the adenoids become too big and infected, they may be removed along with the tonsils. After that, the child can breathe easily once again through the nose.
5. The Larynx
The larynx is the top of the trachea, or windpipe. It forms the bulge in the neck that is called the “Adam’s apple” and contains two vocal cords that vibrate and that open and close as we speak or sing.
6. The Thyroid Gland
The thyroid is a gland located in the front of the neck on both sides of the trachea, or windpipe. It manufactures the hormone that controls how well we break down food into substances that are used for energy and for rebuilding worn out structures.
7. The Esophagus
The esophagus is the foodpipe. It extends from the throat down through the chest, and it carries the food and fluids we swallow into the stomach.
8. The Trachea
The trachea is the windpipe, which extends from the larynx in the neck down to the bronchial tubes in the chest. It carries the air we breathe into and out of the lungs.