An Insight On Congenital Hypothyroidism’s Effects On Children

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Have you ever heard about Hypothyroidism? Most of the people are familiar with hypothyroidism but what is congenital hypothyroidism?. I have seen many kids suffering from various congenital issues. But many parents are unaware of what is happening and this lack of information causes them a lot of damage. A few days back, going through a newspaper, I saw a case where a child suffered from a rare disease and died due to lack of proper medical attention. Why do so many children die because of the congenital issues?. The reason behind all these deaths is because parents are not aware of what might happen to their child if they don’t pay attention to. Congenital diseases are very common and they become life-threatening if they are not properly attended.

Here is a detailed guide for the parents about what actually congenital hypothyroidism is and what can be the possible causes and treatments.

What Is Congenital Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is an under-active thyroid gland. Whereas Congenital hypothyroidism is the type of hypothyroidism that occurs in newborn children which restricts them to make normal amounts of thyroid hormone. This condition is found in about 1 in 3,000 children. This disease is permanent mostly and stays with the children for their whole life. Thyroid hormone is very important for a baby as it helps the baby to develop its brain normally, therefore, untreated congenital hypothyroidism can lead to intellectual disabilities and growth failures which can not be reversed throughout the life.
Congenital hypothyroidism is undoubtedly treatable and is likely to go away with time but if it is not diagnosed at a proper time and age, the treatments will not work. Hypothyroidism has a lifetime effect on the baby and they aren’t able to lead a normal, healthy life.

The Causes Of Congenital Hypothyroidism

After listening to various early deaths around me due to congenital diseases, i always wondered what are their causes. Parents are unaware of what is happening to their kids, they rush towards the doctors when most of the cases are untreatable. Why don’t we aware people about these major life-threatening issues?
Congenital hypothyroidism mostly occurs when our thyroid gland does not develop in a proper way.

Either Because:

  • It is missing
  • Is too small
  • Is at the wrong part of the neck.

In rare situations, hypothyroidism is also caused due to various medications taken during the period of pregnancy. Congenital hypothyroidism is not carried in the genes if one of the siblings are suffering from this condition it does not mean others will too.

Signs And Symptoms Of Congenital Hypothyroidism

The symptoms of congenital hypothyroidism are not very commonly seen. This is why it is difficult for the parents to identify them beforehand. Whereas there are a few symptoms that are seen only when this issue becomes serious.
Look out for the following symptoms to identify if you child is suffering from hypothyroidism or not:

  • Poor Feeding Habits
  • Excessive Sleeping
  • Weak Crying
  • Constipation
  • Prolonged Jaundice Right After Birth

The symptoms doctors look for are:

  • A Puffy Face
  • Poor Muscle Strength
  • Large Tongue
  • Distended Abdomen
  • Larger-than-normal soft spots on the head.

Congenital Hypothyroidism Diagnosis

Looking at the difficulty level of diagnosing this disease at birth, the doctors around the world screen for this disease using blood collected from the baby’s heel before discharging from the hospital. This process is called newborn screening. When the test results come out positive i.e a low level of thyroid hormone and high level of thyroid-stimulating hormone, the screening immediately notifies the baby’s doctor, before the baby is 2 weeks old. This is only possible in cases which are treated abroad. Unfortunately, there are some restrictions regarding the diagnosis in Pakistan due to lack of medical equipment and awareness.

How Is Congenital Hypothyroidism Treated?

As according to the situation in Pakistan, the treatments are limited or only possible at the expensive private hospitals. Congenital hypothyroidism around the world is usually treated by giving thyroid hormone medication in a pill form called levothyroxine. Many children suffering from this disease will be requiring treatment throughout their life. It is very unfortunate that the parents in Pakistan are not properly guided on how to manage these situations. Because of this, they end up losing their children most of the times. The hormone pill which is given to the child to treat congenital hypothyroidism works exactly as it is produced in the human body. In general, side effects occur only if the dose is too high, which the endocrinologist can avoid by checking blood levels on a periodic basis.

Marham has been helping people through many complicated medical situations and is still working to make services better and accessible for the people in Pakistan and also overseas. The treatments for various diseases such as congenital heart diseases, congenital hypothyroidism and also issues such as organ transplants are offered through the platform of Marham. For further assistance or to talk to a medical professional, you can call Marham at 03111222398 to book your in-person or video consultation session. Furthermore, visit marham.pk for more detailed information.
Best Wishes to all the new parents!

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Javeria Adil Chughtai

Javeria Adil Chughtai

A journalist and a medical researcher by profession, badminton player and photographer by passion. You can call me an artist but No, I can't draw you! 😀

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