Though it is more common in adults, hypothyroidism can develop at any time in a persons’ life. Children can be born with it or it can affect small children as well as young men and women. It is difficult to diagnose hypothyroidism in children under the age of two but some of the symptoms include excessive sleepiness and trouble while eating.
There are several types of hypothyroidism in kids, notable among them include:
It is the most common type of hypothyroidism in children. Congenital hypothyroidism is present at birth, and occurs as a result of under-development in the thyroid gland. Or sometimes the thyroid gland has developed but it is unable to produce sufficient thyroid hormones. In some other cases the thyroid gland is absent which can lead to cretinism.
It is common among older kids and adolescence. The main cause of acquired hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease of the thyroid gland which is known as Hashimoto disease. It is more common in girls than in boys.
Signs and symptoms of Hypothyroidism in kids
A feeling of tiredness and fatigue are common and typical signs of hypothyroidism. However, as these sign are not quickly observed, or they are neglected in many cases, this condition is very rarely detected at early phases of life. Some of the other signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism in children are:
- Dry and brittle hair
- Weight gain
- Muscle weak point
- Dry skin
- Poor psychological performance
- Delay in adolescence
- Slow heart beats
- Breathing problems
- Problems in speech
Children with hereditary hypothyroidism could also struggle with slow growth and development. Some parts in their body appear longer than usual, e.g. their legs, hands and tongue. The sexual development is also slow, leading to postponed or late adolescence. The kid might also experience problems and difficulty in understanding, learning and speaking.
hyperthyroidism in children is usually treated with anti-thyroid medication, complete thyroid removal or radioactive iodine. In all events, the patients are monitored closely for the rest of their lives.
- Most doctors recommend anti-thyroid medication therapy, in looking forward they hope for reduction of grave diseases and termination of the thyroid medication.
- Radioactive iodine is a permanent solution for hyperthyroidism. It causes hypothyroidism thus creating the need for the replacement of thyroid.
- Removal of the thyroid or surgery is an option for resolving a hyperactive thyroid. It also helps reduce the risks involved when the body is exposed to radiation
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Once diagnosed, a child should start treatment as early as possible. If not treated early, hypothyroidism in children may lead to serious problems like poor mental development. For very young children, it can only be detected through a blood test.
Treatments begin with blood tests and usually depend on the nature and severity of the disease. Children with this condition are put on synthetic thyroid hormone treatment in which is in form of pill to take once a day. For extreme cases, surgery is performed.