Hypothyroidism in Infants and Children: Frequently Asked QuestionsSunday, April 21, 2013 - 18:00
Here are some frequently asked questions related to hypothyroidism in children.
Q: Our daughter was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. She was late entering
A: Don't feel bad. Many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism found in older children and adults are subtle and appreciated far more with hindsight after the hypothyroidism is diagnosed. It's good your daughter's condition was diagnosed and that she began treatment. Many of the symptoms that bother her will improve markedly or disappear after she has taken
Q: I was confused when I asked my doctor about my child's thyroid hormone level and she talked about T3 and T4 values. What do these have to do with thyroid hormone?
A: Two slightly different forms of thyroid hormone are found in the blood. One is abbreviated as T3 (thyroid
Q: The doctor said my son's hypothyroidism isn't due to a problem in the
A: Although the vast majority of cases of childhood hypothyroidism result from a problem in the thyroid gland, about 5% of cases are due to a problem in the
Q: I was diagnosed with
A: Your daughter's temporary bout with hypothyroidism in infancy was probably due to the medication that you took for your hyperthyroidism, and that is not directly related to her developing Hashimoto's thyroiditis. However, there is a genetic factor in developing both Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and there is often a familial tendency toward both thyroid disorders. Individuals with Graves' disease are at higher risk to develop Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and persons with Hashimoto's thyroiditis are at higher risk to develop Graves' disease. You and your daughter can discuss this with your doctors and have any remaining questions answered.
Q: We adopted a baby from another country and brought him home when he was about four months old. Our pediatrician sent us to an endocrinologist, and he says our little boy has hypothyroidism. He also used the terms
A: Congenital hypothyroidism is hypothyroidism that is present at birth. You may see it abbreviated as CH. Cretinism is a term for hypothyroidism that appears in infancy or early childhood. Neither term is associated with any specific cause of hypothyroidism. The doctor will determine what is the cause of the hypothyroidism. You will begin to feel better as you learn more about the particulars of your son's condition and as he begins to respond to thyroid hormone treatment.
Q: Our 3-year-old daughter was just diagnosed with hypothyroidism that her doctor says is due to defective development of the thyroid gland before birth. She was right on target developmentally until this past year. Why would something that was wrong at birth take so long to show up?
A: You should raise this question with her doctor to get the specifics of her case. Doctors do know that some infants are born with thyroid glands that are not capable of producing much thyroid hormone. Sometimes these children develop hypothyroidism when they have grown up enough that their bodies' needs for thyroid hormone exceed the amount that the gland can make. This may be the cause of your daughter's condition. Fortunately, thyroid hormone treatment is simple and will replace the thyroid hormone that her gland cannot make.