Thyroid Disease In Children

Thyroid Disease In Children

The thyroid is an important gland, and problems with this gland may be more common than you think: More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop thyroid disease during their lifetime. This disease can affect anyone at any age, including children and newborns.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism in children is a family history of the disease. Children whose parents, grandparents, or siblings have hypothyroidism are at a higher risk for thyroid disease. This is also true if there’s a family history of immune problems that impact the thyroid.

Other common causes of hypothyroidism in children include:

  • Not enough iodine in a child’s diet
  • Being born with a nonfunctional thyroid or without a thyroid gland (also called congenital hypothyroidism)
  • Improper treatment of a mother’s thyroid disease during pregnancy
  • abnormal pituitary gland

There are different treatment options for hypothyroidism. Treatment typically involves daily thyroid hormone therapy with a medication called levothyroxine (Synthroid). The dose will be determined by your doctor and dependent on various factors like the age of your child.

Treatment for a newborn with thyroid disease is more successful when started within the child’s first month of life. If left untreated, low thyroid hormones can lead to problems with the nervous system or developmental delays. However, doctors regularly screen babies within the first four weeks of life, so these problems don’t usually occur.