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Thyroid Issues
June 2003

Q. My daughter was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at birth. She has never had a scan but the doctors said she either had no thyroid or it would never function. She's been on the same dose of Synthroid for almost her whole life and her labs stay almost perfect. Is it possible that she doesn't have hypothyroidism or that her thyroid has started working? Would it be worth the discomfort to her to take her off her medication to have a scan done?

A. Fortunately, it is now accepted practice to screen all newborns for thyroid function at birth. A simple blood test to measure the level of thyroid hormone is done, and if levels are low or absent, treatment is begun to prevent complications. The cause of the condition is not known.

Most children with the condition simply have a failure of the thyroid gland to develop. There are some cases in which the hypothyroidism is temporary, but it is impossible to distinguish these from those children in whom the thyroid gland is absent. The decision as to stopping medication should be discussed in thorough consultation with the specialist who knows your child.



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