hypothyroidism in infancy results in slow growth,
significant intellectual disability, and developmental delays. Symptoms are seldom
apparent at birth. The age at which they appear and their severity depends on
how well the infant's thyroid gland works.
Infants are treated with synthetic thyroid hormone
replacement. An infant treated for hypothyroidism within the first month of
life grows and develops normally. Treatment must be continued for life. If
hypothyroidism occurs after age 3,
intellectual disability usually does not occur. But
untreated childhood hypothyroidism usually delays a child's physical growth and
Children and teens also need lifelong treatment with
synthetic thyroid hormone replacement. With adequate treatment, a child will
catch up in height and weight to healthy children of the same age.
August 7, 2012
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
& Matthew I. Kim, MD - Endocrinology
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