What are the primary reasons why kids have thyroid issues? Are they truly treatable? What are normal thyroid levels in a child? What age group in children is more likely to have it? These are some of the common questions that parents come up with, shares Dr. Lini Balakrishnan, Consultant – Paediatrician, Motherhood Hospitals, Sarjapur, Bangalore. Thyroid difficulties are often identified among adults and indeed many parents are shocked to find out when their children have them as well. Thyroid troubles are the most prevalent endocrine illness among school-age children.
According to a website called children’s health, “Thyroid illness affects about 37 out of every 1,000 young people. Thyroid hormones are required for every cell in the body to function normally. Thyroid problems among children may affect the body in several ways. The two most frequent thyroid issues in kids are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Family history of the illness is the most prevalent cause of hypothyroidism in children. Children who have hypothyroidism in their parents, grandparents, or siblings are more likely to have thyroid illnesses. This is especially true if there is a family history of thyroid-related immunological disorders. Autoimmune diseases, such as Graves' disease and Hashimoto's thyroiditis, can arise during puberty.”
These thyroid problems are more prevalent in girls than boys. Other prevalent causes include:
- Lack of iodine in a child's diet.
- Non-functioning thyroid or being born without a thyroid gland (congenital hypothyroidism).
- Inadequate treatment of a mother's thyroid illness during pregnancy.
- Pituitary gland dysfunction.
How are thyroid disorders treated in children
It’s important to note that each child's case requires specific attention.
Replacement treatment with synthetic thyroid hormones in the form of a single daily pill is commonly provided. Thyroid hormones are vital for optimal brain development in new-borns and children; hence, therapy with the correct amount of synthetic hormone is highly important. Because the body might demand increasing doses of synthetic hormone over time, the kid should be retested occasionally to make sure the proper quantity of hormone is provided, and the dose is increased as needed.
Most adolescents and children with hyperthyroidism would be started on antithyroid medication at the time they are diagnosed. For individuals with significant symptoms, like high heart rate, nervousness, and palpitations, a prescription called a "beta-blocker" will be administered to assist in lessening symptoms until the anti-thyroid medications act. This will then be reviewed over time, and more definitive treatment may be given if necessary.
Also Read: Dietary Guidelines By Expert For Weight Loss in Thyroid Patients
What are normal thyroid levels in a child
Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is generated by the pituitary gland and helps regulate hormone synthesis and metabolism throughout your body. TSH helps your thyroid gland manufacture other hormones necessary for your metabolism, such as thyroxine. Recommended TSH levels in children vary by age.
TSH tends to be high in the first month following a child's birth; a child’s TSH levels will progressively drop as they approach maturity before increasing again as they age.
- In the first week, levels of 1.6–24.3 mU/L (milliunits per litre) are considered normal.
- Following that, 0.58–5.57 mU/L (milliunits per litre) is a normal range for about the first 20 weeks.
- After that, until adulthood, anywhere between 0.55–5.31 mU/L (milliunits per litre) is deemed normal.
- Thyroid problems can arise at any age; in fact, infants can be born with a thyroid disorder.
- Children aged 11 to 18 are more susceptible to thyroid-related problems, as per some studies.
It is also important to focus upon modifying lifestyle for kids who have thyroid, it is advised to eat a lot of green vegetables, beef, whole milk, and butter which will help in reducing tiredness and it acts a possible tool to improve the wellbeing of children with thyroid.