Thyroid Problems In Children
Thyroid related problems are so common in children that they are very often neglected by those caring for the child. Often there are no obvious symptoms – goitre or swelling in the throat to signal a dysfunctional thyroid. The child simply appears either overweight or jumpy; and unless these cases are extreme, most children with thyroid disease remain untreated. Yet, most forms of thyroid disease are quite easy to treat.
The thyroid gland is located in our throats, wrapped around our trachea’s like a little butterfly. This organ produces hormones special chemicals, known as T3 or triiodothyronine and T4 or thyroxine. These hormones are then released into the bloodstream.Every cell in our body needs thyroid hormones to work properly. These hormones control how fast the body uses up energy and contribute to a child’s growth. The thyroid can go out of kilter for both adults and kids; but it seems to happen more often to the young and growing.
There are two main kinds of thyroid disorder or thyroid disease. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid is overactive and releases too much thyroid hormone into the blood. The exact opposite is Hypothyroidism when the thyroid is underactive, and inadequate hormone is being made and released into the bloodstream.
Hyperthyroidism in a child creates restlessness; the child is squirmy and nervous and finds it difficult to sit still in class; unable to pay attention, easily distracted and very noisy. This leads to poor marks in class, confrontations with parents and teachers, and over the years it has a negative impact on career. Although the child may eat a lot, instead of gaining weight, the child gets thinner and sweats copiously; a fast pulse, nervousness, heat intolerance, weight loss, muscle weakness and tremors, diarrhea, sleep and behavioral disorders. This affects physical development
Hypothyroidism can show up as unnatural and unexpected slow-down in growthand delayed skeletal development. The child may have aswelling of the neck (goitre), owing to an inflamed thyroid gland. Other symptoms can be unusual tiredness or lethargy, dry itchy skin, increased sensitivity to cold, weight gain, poor concentration, and recurring constipation. All this will leave serious scars on both the child’s mental and physical health.
For a child exhibiting these symptoms, thyroid examination becomes a must. To do so, one may not need to visit to the best hospital in abu dhabi, most medical centers in abudhabi as well as many medical clinics in abu dhabi are well equipped to investigate and identify the problem. For a suspected thyroid disorder, blood is drawn to measure levels of thyroid hormones and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and antibodies TSA) in it. If test results confirm a disorder then it becomes the job of the pediatric endocrinologist or a pediatrician in combination with an endocrinologist to treat the patient. If a nodule is found on examination of the thyroid gland, the doctor may order an ultrasound or a thyroid scan, similar to an X-ray.
Depending upon the type of thyroid disease and complexities of the case it may now be necessary to approach the best hospital in abu dhabi,or a medical centers in abu dhabi or medical clinics in abu dhabi.
Thyroid disease is not like a cold (caused by a virus), nor is it caused by something eaten. In kids the broad types are:
- Genetics: tendency tothyroid disease can be a family trait.
- Neonatal hypothyroidism: babies can have this from birth; either born without a thyroid gland or in case of an underdeveloped/malfunctioning thyroid.This is aa critical disorder that occurs in about 1 out 4000 babies. If the diagnosis is delayed, and immediate treatment not given, it will cause growth and developmental defects, and severe mental retardation (cretinism).
- In most medical centers in abudhabi, within a week of birth, blood is taken to measure the infant’s thyroid hormone level and repeated to confirm abnormality. If confirmed the infant is immediately treated through thyroid hormone replacement therapy (T4 — thyroxine).
- Should this condition be missed, symptoms appear in days: poor feeding, slow pulse,constipation, low body temperature, prolonged jaundice, sleepiness and the baby stops crying. Within weeks, devastating consequences such as poor growth and development, dry skin and hair, poor muscle tone, slow tendon reflexes, hoarse crying, enlarged tongue, umbilical hernia, and puffiness or swelling, begin manifesting. By this time, the child would probably bebrain damaged.
- Not enough iodine in the diet. Iodine is essential for making thyroid hormones. Found naturally in foods such as seafood; and often added to salt.
- Side effect of medication
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease where, the body’s own immune system attacks the thyroid gland interfering with production of hormones. It can strike at any age, and not be diagnosed for years, resulting in severe physical and mental changes.Treatment for Hashimoto’s in children and adolescents is Thyroid Hormone Replacement to be taken daily for life.
- Another autoimmune condition Graves’ diseasewhere the body produces antibodies stimulating the thyroid gland intoproducing too much thyroid hormone.
Summing up, thyroid disease may not be life-threatening but can have disastrous consequences for the future of the child. The irony lies in the ease with which modern Medicine can identify and correct this.
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