Hypothyroidism | Diagnosis and Treatment

How is hypothyroidism diagnosed?

Congenital (present at birth) hypothyroidism is usually detected during a child’s routine newborn screening. Blood samples will reveal any abnormal levels of T4 or TSH hormones, which may indicate that your child has thyroid problems. Your physician may also want to scan your child’s thyroid gland to check for abnormalities.

What are the treatment options for hypothyroidism?

Left untreated in newborns, hypothyroidism can lead to mental retardation. Untreated hypothyroidism may also lead to:

  • anemia
  • low body temperature
  • heart failure

The goal of treatment is to restore the thyroid gland to normal function, producing normal levels of thyroid hormones. Treatment may include thyroid hormones to replace deficient hormones. Some children will require hormone replacement therapy for the rest of their lives, while others appear to outgrow the disorder, often by the age of 3. Regular monitoring of your child's thyroid hormone levels during the course of treatment, including a 30-day discontinuation of treatment to see how the thyroid responds, can help your child's physician diagnose your child's condition more accurately.