Hyperthyroidism is a condition that happens when your child’s thyroid gland makes too much thyroid hormone.
The thyroid gland is in the lower front of the neck. This gland takes iodine from the food your child eats to make thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are chemicals that control the way the body turns the food your child eats into energy. They also control body functions such as temperature, heart rate, appetite and emotions.
Sometimes hyperthyroidism gets better without treatment. However, a serious problem called thyroid storm can happen if your child has too much thyroid hormone. It happens most often when your child is under stress, such as with an injury, infection, or surgery. In thyroid storm, your child’s blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature can all get very high. Thyroid storm can be a life-threatening emergency. The best way to prevent it is to control hyperthyroidism.
High thyroid levels may be caused by:
Some thyroid problems may be inherited, which means that the problem may be passed from parents to children through their genes. Genes are inside each cell of the body. They contain the information that tells the body how to develop and work.
Symptoms may include:
A thyroid storm can cause severe restlessness, confusion, sweating, and diarrhea. Your child’s heart will beat very fast, her blood pressure will get very high, and she will have a high fever. Thyroid storm is an emergency. If your child is having severe symptoms of thyroid storm, call 911 or take your child to the emergency room right away.
Your healthcare provider will ask about your child’s medical history and symptoms and will examine your child. Tests may include:
Treatment for hyperthyroidism depends on the cause, your child’s symptoms, and your child’s age. Treatment for hyperthyroidism lowers the amount of thyroid hormone in your child’s body. Hyperthyroidism may be treated with medicine, radiation, or surgery:
Medicine called beta-blockers may be prescribed to help control your symptoms. Beta-blockers do not cure hyperthyroidism, but they can make you feel better within a few hours.
Your child may be referred to a healthcare specialist who treats diseases of glands like the thyroid (endocrinologist).
Your child may be referred to an eye specialist to check for eye problems related to thyroid disease.
Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your child's healthcare provider. Make sure that your child doesn’t stop taking her medicine or change the way she takes it unless your provider tells you to change or stop taking the medicine.
Your child will need to have blood tests to check thyroid hormone level every few months for the rest of her life. The tests can help make sure your child is getting the right amount of medicine.
Ask your child’s healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.