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Thyroid Awareness Month

By January 20, 2022October 17th, 2022No Comments3 min read

January is Thyroid Awareness Month. The month is dedicated to talking about thyroid disease with a bid to raise awareness of thyroid conditions, the symptoms, and the importance of diagnosis and treatment. The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland that is located just below Adam’s apple. It is a small gland that plays a huge role in the body. Basically, the thyroid regulates the body’s metabolism.

One of the major roles in regulating growth in young children. It is important to highlight this aspect so you are able to understand why individuals with Developmental Disabilities may have thyroid malfunctions. Thyroid hormone is essential for behavioral and Intellectual development.

According to research, pregnant mothers with low to moderate thyroid impairment may affect the child’s brain development. Children may also have subtle to severe intellectual disabilities e.g. Intellectual disabilities, attention deficits, and pervasive disorders such as Autism.

The thyroid, therefore, influences the function of the vital organs e.g. heart, brain, kidney, liver, and skin. It is therefore important to ensure that the thyroid is healthy and functioning as should be.

When the thyroid is not working as should;

Sometimes, the thyroid may develop a problem. It may become enlarged, develop a growth, produce too little or too much hormone. It is important to note that women are far more likely to develop thyroid problems than men.
Common thyroid problems include;

• Hyperthyroidism
Hyper means extra. Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid produces excessive hormones. One will present various symptoms amongst them being; Irritability, muscle weakness, sleeping problems, fast heartbeat, heat intolerance, diarrhea, enlargement of the thyroid, and weight loss.

Many children born with Autism are likely to suffer from hypothyroidism. It often goes undetected because of unreliable blood tests. Additionally, symptoms of Autism and hyperthyroidism may overlap making it even more difficult to detect.

Some of the symptoms that overlap include; speech delays, gastrointestinal problems, speech and other developmental delays, jaundice that last longer than usual, difficulties in feeding, poor muscle tone, poor bone development, etc.

When hypothyroidism in young children is not detected early enough, it leads to mental impairment, developmental delays, heart failure. Pregnancy and thyroid disease have been linked together in that, if the mother has hypothyroidism, they are likely to pass it to their unborn child.

• Hypothyroidism

Hypo means deficient. Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid doesn’t make enough hormones. This will result in weight gain, slow metabolism, feeling sluggish or depressed. There is no treatment for hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. However, there are treatments to alleviate the symptoms. Treatment options may range from pills to surgery.


• Goitre

Goiter is a swelling on the neck that can be a result of an enlarged thyroid. Growth of lumps (nodules) in the thyroid causes goiter too. This enlargement may result in decreased or increased thyroid function. Other times, the enlargement may not cause any harm to the body.

The major cause of goiter is lack of iodine. Some symptoms of goiter include; swelling at the base of the neck, snoring, coughing, difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, and hoarseness.

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