What is acquired hypothyroidism?
The following conditions may cause or increase your child’s risk of having acquired hypothyroidism:
- Autoimmune disease: The immune system is your body’s defense against infections and diseases. A problem with the immune system may make the body attack even its own cells. Autoimmune thyroiditis (swelling of the thyroid gland) is the most common autoimmune disease that may cause acquired hypothyroidism.
- Delayed onset of congenital hypothyroidism: Some children who have hypothyroidism when they are born, may only show signs and symptoms much later in childhood.
- Diet: Having too little or no iodine in your child’s diet may cause hypothyroidism. Iodine is an important mineral used by the thyroid gland to work correctly and make thyroid hormones.
- Family history: Having a family member with hypothyroidism or autoimmune disease may also increase your child’s risk.
- Medicines: Taking certain medicines, such as those used to treat depression or other mental problems, may cause hypothyroidism. Medicines to treat hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone) may also decrease the thyroid hormones in your child’s body.
- Treatments: Radiation therapy used to treat cancers of the head and neck can destroy your child’s thyroid gland. Surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland makes him more likely to develop hypothyroidism.
- Other diseases or conditions:Having thyroid problems, such as an enlarged or swollen thyroid. Nodules (lumps) caused by infections or cancer may grow in your child’s thyroid and affect how it works.
What are the signs and symptoms of acquired hypothyroidism?
The signs and symptoms of acquired hypothyroidism may be different depending on your child’s age.
- Early signs and symptoms:
- Bulging soft mass in the belly button.
- Coarse or dull-looking facial features.
- Delay or failure in growth and development.
- Dry, flaky skin or thin and brittle fingernails or hair.
- Hoarseness and large tongue.
- Large arm and leg muscles.
- Later signs and symptoms:
- Feeling depressed, irritable, or lacking energy.
- Feeling too cold when the temperature is just right or normal for everyone else.
- Learning, speech, or behavior problems
- Problems moving his bowel, such as constipation (dry, hard stools).
- Delay in sexual development, like breasts or testes.
- Swelling of his whole body, very slow heartbeat, and troubled breathing.
- Teeth may erupt (appear) late.