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The most common cause of acquired hypothyroidism is an autoimmune reaction. This is when the body's immune system slowly destroys the thyroid gland. An unborn baby’s thyroid function may be affected by:
A child is at risk for hypothyroidism if he or she has any of these:
The signs in children are different from those in adults. The most common sign in children is slowed or delayed growth. This may occur years before other signs occur. Other signs can occur a bit differently in each child, and can vary by age.
Signs in younger children (juvenile hypothyroidism) can include:
Signs in older children and teens (adolescent hypothyroidism) can include:
The symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. He or she may also ask about your family’s health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have tests, such as:
Your child's healthcare provider will consider his or her age, overall health, and other factors when advising treatment. Your child may need to see a pediatric endocrinologist. This is a doctor with extra training in treating children with hormone problems.
The goal of treatment is to restore hormone levels to normal and stimulate normal growth and development. Treatment may include taking thyroid hormones to increase the level of hormones in the body. Some children will need to take hormones for life. Other children may outgrow the disorder. Your child’s healthcare provider will check your child’s blood regularly during treatment. This will help to show if the treatment is working.
Hypothyroidism can affect a child's normal growth and development. This includes sexual development. If untreated, the condition can also lead to:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.