Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. Low levels of this hormone can cause many body functions to slow down.
Failing to grow normally is the most common sign in children. Hypothyroidism can also cause your child to feel sluggish, gain weight, and have a poor memory. It may also be hard for your child to focus his or her attention. The symptoms of the disease can be similar to depression.
Hashimoto's thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in children. In this condition, the body's immune system attacks the thyroid gland. The thyroid has to work harder to make enough hormones. This can cause an enlarged thyroid gland that can be seen at the front of the neck. This is called a goiter.
Your child needs to take thyroid hormone medicine every day. Your child also should have a blood test at least once a year. This checks to be sure he or she is taking the right amount of medicine. Your child will keep taking medicine to replace the hormone that the thyroid gland doesn't make.
Hypothyroidism can be a serious disease. But children usually do well after they start treatment. Most parents notice that with treatment, their children have increased energy, are in a brighter mood, and do better at school. Children also start to grow normally again.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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