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Pediatric endocrinology: Thyroid issues in kids

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Children who suffer from thyroid disease get treated by a pediatric endocrinologist. Endocrinology is focused on the diagnosis and treatment of diseases related to hormones, including such human functions as the coordination of metabolism, respiration, reproduction, sensory perception, and movement.

What is a pediatric endocrinologist?

A pediatric endocrinologist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of children with diseases of the endocrine system. This doctor will treat a child that has problems with growth, puberty, diabetes, ovarian and testicular dysfunction, obesity, low blood sugar, and hormones. They also treat issues with a child’s thyroid gland, pituitary gland, or adrenal gland.

Pediatric endocrinologists treat patients from infancy to late adolescence and young adulthood. The care provided includes personalized care for endocrine conditions and nutritional counseling for your child.

Thyroid disease in children

The thyroid gland is a vital, butterfly-shaped hormone gland located at the front of the neck. It produces hormones that regulate the body’s metabolic rate, as well as regulates vital body functions including breathing, heart rate, body weight, muscle strength, body temperature, and much more.

The signs and symptoms of thyroid disease are similar in children as they are in adults, but there are some important differences. Two of the most common types of thyroid disease in children include hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism in children

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is under-active and produces an insufficient number of thyroid hormones. 

Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Children include:

  • Feeling cold
  • Slow growth
  • Slow pulse
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Delayed puberty
  • Slow speech
  • Tiredness
  • Delayed tooth development
  • Weight gain

Hyperthyroidism in children

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormone than the body needs.

Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism in Children include:

  • Low tolerance of hot weather
  • Rapid growth
  • Rapid pulse
  • Hair loss
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Mood swings
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Bulging eyes
  • Weight loss

If your child is experiencing any of these signs or symptoms listed above, call SIU Medicine at 217-545-8000 to schedule an appointment with our pediatric endocrinologist.

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