Many thyroid sufferers don’t realize that thyroid disease can also affect children — even in utero, and as newborns. It’s also important to know that there are certain types of thyroid disease that have a genetic or hereditary component that can put children at greater risk of developing a thyroid condition.
For example, a small percentage of newborns suffer from congenital hypothyroidism at birth. Congenital hypothyroidism results from either an improperly formed gland, or as a result of antithyroid medications ingested by the mother during pregnancy. These infants require early testing — and thyroid testing is included in the standard heel stick test for various health issues that most newborns undergo. Infants with congenital hypothyroidism require rapid and proper treatment to avoid lifelong complications and cognitive impairment due to hypothyroidism and lack of sufficient thyroid hormone.
According to modern Ayurvedic therapeutic science, a decrease or increase in the normal working of thyroid gland results in the ailments of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, respectively. Like all nija rogas (internally caused diseases), the root cause of hypothyroidism is a disequilibrium of the doshas.
Reviewing some of the common signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can help you to know when to get thyroid function tests ordered for your child and when to look for another cause for your child’s symptoms.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism:
Hypothyroidism most commonly occurs when the thyroid gland isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone, either because it can’t (primary hypothyroidism) or because it isn’t being stimulated properly (secondary hypothyroidism).
Kids with primary hypothyroidism will usually have a low free thyroxine level (free T4) and an elevated level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and associated symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as:
1.) Short stature or deceleration of growth, Rough, dry skin,
2.) ColdConstipation, intolerance Fatigue, Delayed bone age on Xray,
3.) Delayed puberty (teens), Galactorrhea (white breast discharge)
4.) Pseudoprecocious puberty (early puberty)
5.) Headaches, Vision problems
Newborns with congenital hypothyroidism are usually identified on their newborn screening test, which routinely tests for hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism:
Hyperthyroidism also called thyrotoxicosis, there is an excess of thyroid hormones. These children will usually have a high T4, T3, and a low TSH.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include:
1.) Emotional lability, with your child being more likely to cry easily, be irritable and excitable, etc.
2.) Short attention span
3.) Finger tremor
4.) Increased appetite
5.) Weight loss, failure to thrive
6.) Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
7.) Exophthalmos (protruding eyes)
8.) Upper eyelid lag
9.) Infrequent blinking
10.) Flushed skin
11.) Excessive sweating
12.) Muscle weakness
13.) Tachycardia and palpitation
14.) High blood pressure