Thyroid illness, whether in children or in adults, takes the form of one of two variants: hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Both conditions are caused by a malfunction in the operation of the thyroid, but the results are polar opposites. Hyperthyroidism is the result of too much thyroid hormone in the patient’s system, while hypothyroidism is the result of too little thyroid hormone in the patient’s system. Thyroid illness is often thought of being a disease affecting middle-aged people, most often women, but in fact, it can strike at any age and affect either gender (although women are statistically slightly more likely to be affected by thyroid issues). Thyroid issues can even affect children – sometimes even before they are born.
The following 8 signs and symptoms may be an indication that you should take your child to a doctor to have their thyroid function tested as soon as possible. Treatment is finicky to get right, but once the correct dose has been ascertained, your child will be able to live a full and rewarding life, albeit one in which they will have to take medication daily. Click here to learn more about thyroid meds, such as Liothyronine at International Pharmacy.
Signs of Hyperthyroidism in Children
Children who have excess thyroid hormone in their systems are often mistaken for children with anxiety. They can have trouble concentrating, are often shaky in their hands and can be jumpy. They often have trouble sleeping too, which only exacerbates the faulty diagnosis of anxiety, which is actually a symptom caused by the overabundance of thyroid hormone in their bodies.
Occasionally, an effect of the hyperthyroid condition, Grave’s Disease, is to cause the immune system to attack the muscles around the eye and eye socket. This causes the patient’s eyes to bulge out, giving them a distinctive, somewhat surprised, look. If your child’s eyes seem to be bulging out of their sockets – especially if this is a recent development – book a doctor’s appointment as soon as you can so that treatment can get underway.
Increased Appetite but No Weight Gain
While this symptom might cause a twinge of envy in perennial dieters, it is actually not an ideal symptom at all as it brings along with it a host of other issues, many of which make the sufferer quite uncaring about their appearance. It is especially problematic in children who require large amounts of healthy nutrition every day.
If your child suddenly becomes a clammy, sweaty child having not been so before, you should be alert to the possibility of the onset of hyperthyroidism, particularly if there have been other symptoms and there is no rational explanation for the sweatiness.
Signs of Hypothyroidism
Thyroid hormone helps the body to regulate its temperature so it is a common sign for thyroid patients to complain of being too hot (hyperthyroid) or too cold (hypothyroid). This can be so severe that a hypothyroid child can be shivering while wearing a sweater on a hot summer day.
Always Tired and Lethargic
As children grow, they can ‘outgrow their strength’ and have periods of being quite lethargic and reluctant to move. If this is not accompanied with a growth spurt, it may be a sign that something is going wrong with the thyroid, and should be checked out promptly.
Swelling and Weight Gain
An insufficiency of thyroid hormone can cause puffiness and also active weight gain, even without the child eating a lot. In fact, this will appear as the exact opposite of the same condition with a hyperthyroid child: they will eat little and not be very hungry but will gain weight – something that both parents and the child can feel very badly about.
Dry and Brittle Hair, Skin and Nails
The thyroid’s work in the body is widespread and important, and one of the signs of an insufficiency of thyroid hormone is dry brittle hair; nails that break easily; and skin that feels coarse and rough, even after the repeated application of moisturizers.