Early diagnosis is very important. Most of the effects of hypothyroidism are easy to reverse.
Thyroxine is usually given to treat hypothyroidism. Once the child starts taking this medicine, blood tests are regularly done to make sure thyroid hormone levels are in a normal range.
Getting diagnosed early usually leads to a good outcome. Newborns who are diagnosed and treated in the first month or so usually have normal intelligence.
Untreated mild hypothyroidism can lead to severe intellectual disability and growth problems. The nervous system goes through important development during the first few months after birth. Lack of thyroid hormones can cause damage that cannot be reversed.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if:
You feel your infant shows signs or symptoms of hypothyroidism
You are pregnant and have been exposed to antithyroid drugs or procedures
If a pregnant women takes radioactive iodine for thyroid cancer, the thyroid gland may be destroyed in the developing fetus. Infants whose mothers have taken such medicines should be observed carefully after birth for signs of hypothyroidism.
Most states require a routine screening test to check all newborns for hypothyroidism.
LeFranchi S. Hypothyroidism. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme III JW, et al., eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Saunders; 2011;chap 559.
Shehzad Topiwala, MD, Consultant Endocrinologist, Vera Endocrine Associates, Daytona Beach, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.