An overactive thyroid can lead to several problems and give rise to varied health conditions. In this following article we shall try and understand this factor in more detail and give you the solutions for the same.
The thyroid gland is perhaps one of the most important glands in the body. Its role in the development and growth of children leaves no doubt about why it is considered to be that way. The thyroid gland is situated below the neck and produces important hormones like T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine). It is these hormones that are responsible for converting the glucose from the food into energy as well as for determining the rate at which it happens. They are therefore responsible for the metabolism and growth of children. Apart from that, the thyroid gland also affects all other bodily functions.
As far as the issue of children is concerned, it plays an even more important role because it directly affects their puberty and growth. That is why it becomes imperative that the thyroid gland functions smoothly. Sometimes however, there are several thyroid problems that come about. These could either be that the gland becomes overactive (hyperthyroidism) or it becomes underactive (Hypothyroidism). Both these cases can lead to several problems and health complications. In this article however, we will focus on what it means when there is an overactive thyroid in children and what one is supposed to do to deal with it effectively well.
Overactive Thyroid – Symptoms
An overactive thyroid gland translates into the excessive production of the T3 and T4 hormones. This condition is more popularly known as hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis. Of all the causes that are known to lead to this condition, Graves’ disease is known to be the main one. In this, the body produces certain abnormal antibodies which instead of helping fight infections, mix into the blood stream and cause for the body to stimulate the thyroid gland. This then leads to the excessive production of the thyroid hormones and causes for over-secretion of the thyroid gland. What does it spell for children who are suffering from this condition?
Here are some symptoms of an overactive thyroid in children.
- Excessive sweating and perspiration
- Constant nervousness
- Inability to tolerate heat
- Difficulty in sleeping or even insomnia
- Muscle weakness
- Irregular menstruation cycle
- Very fast heartbeat
- Trouble in concentrating
- Trembling in hands
- More prone to mood swings
- Swollen neck due to enlarged thyroid
- Weight loss even though there is no change in appetite or the intake of food.
- Tired and puffy or sometimes bulging eyes
- Problems with bowel movements
- Exhaustion and fatigue
- Hair loss and decrease in hair quality.
- Changes in nail composition. Dry, soft and brittle nails may come about.
- Moist and warm palms
Overactive Thyroid – Treatment
Hyperthyroidism is usually caused by Graves’ disease and therefore the treatment options for the same are used such that this can be treated and thereby provide an indirect treatment for hyperthyroidism in children.
When a child is diagnosed with this condition, the first step of the overactive thyroid treatment is to start him off with certain anti-thyroid medication. These aim at normalizing the production of the hormones. In some cases, the levels of the thyroid normalize in the time period of 1-3 months, but in some, the levels do not normalize and this then forces the child to continue having the medication for his entire life.
Since this can get very cumbersome, many doctors suggest a permanent solution for the same. This is usually administered by way of Radioactive Iodine. This is given in the form of capsules or is mixed with water. The way in which it works is that the thyroid gland absorbs the RAI which leads to the gradual shrinking of the enlarged thyroid gland and thereby gets rid of the symptoms.
The last option that is used is that of Thyroidectomy a surgery done so that major parts of the thyroid gland are removed. This then automatically gets rid of all the symptoms. A side effect of this surgery is that since the production of the thyroid hormone lowers considerably, there is a danger of causing hypothyroidism. Thus a tablet which stimulates the thyroid gland to produce the hormone needs to be taken. As yet, this is a much simpler way of dealing with the problem.
An overactive thyroid in children needs to be looked into immediately so that no further complications arise. The faster the condition is diagnosed, the faster the treatment can be undertaken. With this list of the symptoms and treatment of this condition, it should now be clear what this condition entails.