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Do thyroid disorders affect children differently than adults?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Thyroid disorders can affect people of any age. However, they are more common in older adults. The effects on bodily function are about the same in children and adults, although untreated hypothyroidism in infants can have serious consequences, such as developmental disabilities and stunted growth.

Harvey K. Chiu, MD
Pediatrics
Thyroid disorders can affect children in ways that are much more profound than in adults with lasting sequalae. In the first three years of life, adequate thyroid hormone is critical for a child’s brain development, and inadequate levels may lead to irreversible losses in IQ. Thereafter, thyroid hormone is important for metabolic processes, and children with inadequate thyroid hormone may not grow well. Conversely, excessive thyroid hormone in children may cause a premature growth spurt eventually leading to potentially compromised adult height. Hence it is important that thyroid hormone levels are normal in growing and developing children.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.