Hypothyroidism in Infants and Children
Hypothyroidism in Infants and Children: Putting It All TogetherSunday, April 21, 2013 - 18:01
Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to hypothyroidism in children.
- Hypothyroidism is the condition marked by too little
thyroid hormonein the blood. Growth and development are slowed, and children have symptoms due to inadequate stimulation of organs by thyroid hormone.
- Hypothyroidism can occur at any age, from birth well into the senior years.
- Correct levels of thyroid hormone are necessary for proper growth and development.
- Newborns with hypothyroidism have symptoms that reflect delays in prenatal development (such as larger-than-normal soft spots on the skull) and symptoms due to inadequate organ stimulation (such as sleepiness and constipation).
- Small children also may have symptoms that reflect slowed development (short stature for age and mental retardation) and inadequate organ stimulation.
- Symptoms in older children usually reflect inadequate organ stimulation (dry skin, inability to tolerate the cold, and difficulty learning).
- The seriousness of hypothyroidism in any given child usually relates to the age at which hypothyroidism developed and the delay (if any) in beginning treatment.
- Diagnosis is always through blood testing, which detects the abnormally low thyroid hormone levels.
Congenitalhypothyroidism (hypothyroidism present at birth) can be temporary or permanent.
- Hypothyroidism can result from a diet too low in
iodine, the use of certain drugs, as a side effect of radiation therapy, as a result of treatment for hyperthyroidism, or from an autoimmune disorder. A small percentage of hypothyroidism cases are due to problems in the brain or pituitary gland.
- Hypothyroidism is treated with daily doses of synthetic (artificially manufactured) thyroid hormone that replaces the
hormonemissing in the body.
- Regular monitoring via blood testing provides the means for ensuring appropriate hormone replacement therapy.
- Thyroid hormone treatment may be needed for life, but fortunately treatment is simple, inexpensive, and easily monitored.