Acquired Hypothyroidism is usually caused by an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, where the child’s immune system attacks the thyroid gland and it does not produce enough hormones for the needs of the body. It usually occurs in girls during puberty, while patients with diabetes mellitus (insulin-dependent) are at greater risk of developing this condition (approximately 20% of patients).

What are the symptoms of acquired hypothyroidism?

The main symptom of hypothyroidism is a slow growth rate resulting in low stature. Other symptoms include fatigue, constipation, delayed puberty, intolerance to cold, stunted teeth growth, dry skin, slow thought process or slow speech.

How is acquired hypothyroidism diagnosed?

The diagnosis is based on tests examining hormone levels (T3, T4, TSH), thyroglobulin (TGAb) and thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies, and thyroid ultrasound findings. In the initial phase the disease may manifest as transient hyperthyroidism due to the destruction of the thyroid.

How is acquired hypothyroidism treated?

Hypothyroidism treatment usually lasts for life. The aim is to restore function, which is usually achieved with ease. The doctor administers oral hormone replacement therapy with levothyroxine, which substitutes for thyroxine T4. In consultation with the endocrinologist, dosage is regulated according to the age and weight of the child.