In infants and small children this may be a deficiency of iodine in the diet, producing a visible swelling in the neck called a goitre. be extremely important. It can affect the mental and physical development of the infant, and if undiagnosed and untreated may lead to a serious condition called hypothyroidism. This is also commonly termed cretinism.
Underactive Thyroid Gland Symptoms
Symptoms may set in fairly early in life. The first few weeks may seem fairly normal, but then an observant mother or physician may notice that baby seems sluggish and a bit slow mentally. The skin may appear to be cool and grey; the infant may be constipated, have a large tongue and flabby muscles on the abdomen. In time these become accentuated. The tongue may loll out, a swelling be present at the navel, called an umbilical hernia. There may be a hoarse little cry. Often the symptoms are vague, rather than clear-cut.
This may be at a slower rate than one would normally expect. Mental development especially becomes obviously much slower; the eyes seem to be set widely apart, and an abnormal appearance develops. With further increase in age, the skin becomes dry and coarse, the hair dry, coarse and brittle. There are the obvious signs of thyroxine lack.
Underactive Thyroid Gland Treatment
I’m happy to say treatment is often dramatic. The hormone that is lackingthyroxine – is administered, and can make a world of difference. If given sufficiently early, it can also prevent serious symptoms from developing. But if it’s so difficult to pick, how can the doctors start early therapy? Fortunately, in Australia, obstetrics hospitals now carry out a routine blood test at birth that can detect hypothyroidism. The complaint affects about one baby in 4,000. So in this manner it’s possible to commence treatment virtually from birth. It is done under medical supervision, and may be continued for many years. These services are now available in many countries of the Western world, and have virtually become an automatic procedure for babies.