Skip to main content

January is National Thyroid Awareness Month

Your thyroid may be tiny, but it plays a BIG role in your overall health! National Thyroid Awareness month shines a light on thyroid awareness and the significant role that this gland plays in all of our lives.

So, how do can you tell if your child has a problem with his/her thyroid?

pediatrician doctor examining small child for thyroid problem

Thyroid Disorders in Children: Recognizing Signs & Symptoms

Located at the base of the neck, the thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland responsible for producing hormones that regulate every single cell, tissue, and organ in your body- including your heart, blood pressure, liver function, and metabolism.

Babies can have thyroid issues if they are born without a thyroid gland, or if the thyroid didn’t develop properly. These issues are usually detected by your state’s newborn screen.

Children who have thyroid disorders may have inherited it from relatives or due to other reasons, such as:

  • Lack of iodine in their diet
  • Medications that prevent the thyroid from producing hormones
  • Association with genetic syndromes (such as Down’s or Turner’s)

The most common types of thyroid conditions include hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

In children, signs of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Feeling jumpy, trouble focusing/concentrating
  • Fast heartbeat, shaking hands
  • Excessive sweating, trouble sleeping
  • Wide eyes, bulging eyes
  • Rapid weight loss, despite being very hungry

In children, signs of hypothyroidism include:

  • Delayed growth/puberty
  • Slower heartbeat, sluggish/lack of energy
  • Constipation
  • Yellow/pale skin, dry skin

When to See a Doctor

The good news about thyroid issues is that they are usually manageable. If you think your child has a thyroid problem, it is best to always check with your child’s pediatrician first to help properly diagnose what is going on.

At WakeMed Physician Practices, our Pediatric Endocrinology department provides state-of-the-art diagnoses, treatment, and management of thyroid problems and other endocrine issues in children, ranging from birth to 18 years of age. Contact them at 919-350-7584 to make an appointment today.

About Dr. Hillary Lockemer:

Dr. Lockemer is a board certified pediatric endocrinologist with WakeMed Physician Practices whose research and work has been published in the Journal of Pediatric Emergency Care.

About National Thyroid Awareness Month

Launched in 2012, by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, National Thyroid Awareness month highlights the silent epidemic of thyroid disease through education and research.