About one in every 3000 babies are born with neonatal hypothyroidism, a congenital condition caused by a missing or defective thyroid gland. Without a functional thyroid, infants soon become deficient in the thyroid hormones responsible for proper growth and development. Thankfully, if your child has recently been diagnosed with neonatal hypothyroidism, the disorder can usually be managed successfully through simple medication and monitoring. The critical stage is in recognizing the condition before it can cause permanent damage and beginning treatment quickly.
Recognizing Neonatal Hypothyroidism
Most hospitals conduct routine testing on newborns to catch conditions like hypothyroidism as fast as possible. These tests typically examine your baby's thyroid hormone levels and, if they fall outside a certain acceptable range, will recommend further testing to diagnose hypothyroidism. If your baby was not tested, or if the test did not catch the problem, you may begin to notice other signs like a failure to gain weight, brittle hair, apathy, trouble feeding, or a puffy face and tongue. Eventually, untreated hypothyroidism can lead to mental retardation, which is why it is so important to identify it shortly after birth.
Receiving a Prognosis for Your Child
The good news is that many people now live perfectly normal lives without their thyroids, and your child will hopefully be no different. The severity of the existing damage is largely determined by the extent of your infant's hormone deficiency and the amount of time before diagnosis. Specialists at an infant care clinic will be able to examine your baby comprehensively and supply you with everything you need to know about your child's particular case, including a prognosis for mental function moving forward.
Starting Treatments Early
Once you have a diagnosis, you will likely begin administering thyroid hormone supplements right away to get your infant back on track developmentally. Generally, treatments begun within a few weeks of birth will counteract any early setbacks and lead to normal, healthy growth. During the first two or three years of your child's life, you will need to have his or her thyroid hormone levels tested somewhat frequently to ensure that enough is being supplied.
Continuing Treatment as Your Child Grows
Synthetic thyroid supplements must be taken for life, though eventually the testing will slow down, and the medication should become just another daily routine for your child. Once the initial bumpy period is over, you will hopefully be able to focus instead on the joys and terrors of parenting, secure in the knowledge that your child's condition will not play a lasting role in his or her development. Choosing the right infant care facility to help you navigate the stress of a baby's congenital disorder is critical, so call your local clinic today to begin scheduling regular appointments and meet the condition head-on.
For more information, contact Northeast Wyoming Pediatric Associates Pc or a similar location.