Tags: Thyroid Disorders | congenital hypothyroidism | cretinism

Untreated Congenital Hypothyroidism and Risks of Cretinism

By    |   Monday, 06 Jun 2016 02:07 PM

Congenital hypothyroidism occurs when an infant is born with an underactive, misplaced, or missing thyroid gland. If left untreated, the infant is at risk for developing cretinism.

When an infant is born with decreased thyroid hormone production the condition is referred to as congenital hypothyroidism. The decrease in thyroid hormone production may be due to a missing, misplaced, or underdeveloped thyroid gland; an underactive pituitary gland, malfunctioning thyroid hormones, or an iodine deficiency in the mother’s diet in utero, The New York Times noted. Many infants with congenital hypothyroidism do not show any signs of the condition due to a slightly lowered thyroid level. In infants with severe disease, symptoms may include sleepiness, low hairline, lack of muscle tone, choking, jaundice, poor feeding, dry or brittle hair, a thick tongue, puffy face, and underdeveloped height.

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According to Medscape, congenital hypothyroidism is diagnosed using a series of exams and diagnostic tests including physical exam, thyroid level blood tests, thyroid scanning, ultrasonography, and X-rays.

Early diagnosis of congenital hypothyroidism is crucial to preventing major complications, according to The New York Times. The effects of congenital hypothyroidism can be reversed with early detection and treatment. Thyroid medication, such as thyroxine, is most often used to treat congenital hypothyroidism. Regular blood tests are performed to monitor thyroid hormone levels.

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According to MedicineNet, when congenital hypothyroidism is not diagnosed and treated soon after an infant’s birth, the risk for developing cretinism increases. Cretinism can lead to severe developmental and physical delays, as well as abnormal physical features.

The New York Times reports that untreated congenital hypothyroidism can often cause irreversible damage since thyroid hormones are vital for nervous system development soon after birth. Intellectual disabilities, growth delays, and heart problems are among the most severe complications of untreated congenital hypothyroidism. According to medical professionals, infants should be monitored after birth to watch for symptoms of congenital hypothyroidism if their mothers were required to take thyroid hormone medications or radioactive iodine to treat thyroid cancer while pregnant.

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Congenital hypothyroidism occurs when an infant is born with an underactive, misplaced, or missing thyroid gland. If left untreated, the infant is at risk for developing cretinism.
congenital hypothyroidism, cretinism
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2016-07-06
Monday, 06 Jun 2016 02:07 PM
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