It is difficult to come across a parent who is not concerned, or should it be ‘overly concerned,’ about the health of his or her child. Parents rush to a doctor with complaints that the child is not eating properly. On the other hand, when they do eat adequately, the concern shifts to one with obesity and sluggishness. Being overweight is probably the primary reason why parents suspect thyroid problems in their children.
Children do have some thyroid condition or another at times, but it is not as common as parents tend to believe. While an overweight child may have a thyroid problem, the same cannot be assumed as a given for all overweight children. Admittedly, being overweight in children can be due to a thyroid condition, but the same condition can occur due to various other reasons like over eating and lack of activity as well.
The two most common thyroid problems, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, can affect children as well as adults. The thyroid releases thyroid hormones, which are chemical messengers that circulate throughout the body through the bloodstream. Practically every cell and organ in the body needs these hormones, as they are essential for proper metabolism the biological process essential for growth and sustaining life.
Instead of being overly concerned and rushing to the nearest doctor each time there is a concern, gaining a better understanding of symptoms of thyroid problems in children is advisable. Some signs that you need to look out for are:
- Icterus (jaundice) is normal in newborns, but if it does not go away within a stipulated period, it should be a cause for concern with regards to proper thyroid functions.
- Poor feeding and constipation in infants.
- Abnormally large soft spots on the skull.
- Too much sleep and reduced crying.
- Overweight – Children with an under-active thyroid are overweight, but are also usually short. Overweight but tall children are less likely to have a thyroid problem.
- Improper Growth – Thyroid hormones stimulate cells to divide and multiply for proper growth. Delayed eruption of baby teeth is another sign of slow growth.
- Puffy Face and Protruding Eyes – These are the signs of Graves’ disease, which is caused by lack of iodine, an essential component of thyroid hormones.
- Dry Skin and Thin Hair
- A Protruded Abdomen and Umbilical Hernia
- Slow Heart Rate
- Abnormal sensitivity to cold
- Learning difficulties like poor memory and short attention span
- Dry and flaky skin
- Sleeping too much or too little
Treating thyroid dysfunction in children is of extreme importance. Thyroid dysfunction not only has an impact upon how a child grows into an adult but can also lead to serious complications that may be more difficult to treat. It will also do you good to learn about thyroid health and start early to ensure against thyroid dysfunction.