Health A to Z Last updated on 2021-10-15 09:11:32
How To Balance High TSH Levels In Children
- Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri
- 4 Min Read
- Fact Checked
The thyroid hormone has the ability to virtually affect every cell in your body. TSH helps in production of Thyroid hormone from the thyroid gland. High TSH levels indicate a condition called Hypothyroidism - it means that your body does not have a sufficient supply of the thyroid hormone. Read on to understand how children are affected by Hypothyroidism and how to balance high TSH levels in children.
How does the thyroid hormone work?
- Regulates BMI through the regulation of calories burned - Affects heart rate and body temperature - Role in metabolism of carbs and fats - Controls muscle contractions - Controls rate of cell turnover - Affects digestive processes - Controls ovulation and menstrual cycles in females - In children, along with growth hormone affects bone growth
What do high TSH levels mean?
When your body has high TSH levels, it indicates that your body is not making sufficient thyroid hormones. This is called Hypothyroidism due to an underactive thyroid.
Symptoms of high TSH levels (Hypothyroidism) in children
Children: - Slow mental and physical development - Delayed milestones like speech in toddlers - Increased dental concerns due to delayed eruption of teeth or malalignment of teeth - Poor speech development - Cold intolerance Adolescents: - Slow mental and physical development - Delayed puberty - Cold intolerance - Increased fatigue and weakness - Weight gain despite decreased appetite - Sluggishness and sleepiness - Increased depressed episodes - Increased episodes of constipation - Dry skin and hair - Heavy menstruation in girls
While Hypothyroidism is common in children, it is treatable. But, when it happens in neonates, it can be dangerous. The reason children are affected with the symptoms mentioned above is because the body relies on the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. It can affect mental and physical development, and allows for improper growth of bones and nerves.
Normal TSH levels in children
|0-4 days old||Normal level: 1.6–24.3 mU/L|
|2-20 weeks old||Normal level: 0.58–5.57 mU/L|
|>20 weeks old||Normal level: 0.55–5.31 mU/L|
Interpreting levels and diagnosis
Causes of Hypothyroidism in children
(1) Congenital Hypothyroidism This occurs when the thyroid gland has not developed or underdeveloped in the baby before being born.
(2) Autoimmune Hypothyroidism This condition is also called Chronic Lymphocytic Thyroiditis (CLT) or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and is the most common cause of Hypothyroidism. The thyroid gland is damaged and unable to function after being attacked by the child’s immune system. This condition is seen more in female children, than in male. Individuals that requires insulin therapy are at increased risk.
(3) Iatrogenic Hypothyroidism This is an acquired condition that children that have had their thyroid gland removed (due to any other pathology like cancer) can experience. This is because now the thyroid hormone is not being produced.
How to balance high TSH levels in children?
It is important to remember that a child is diagnosed with Hypothyroidism only after they are confirmed by a screening test. It is only after being diagnosed by a professional, that a child should be treated for their high TSH levels.
Congenital Hypothyroidism : treatment for this condition should start within 13-14 days after the child is born and after tests confirm the diagnosis. Under the supervision of a doctor, doses of levothyroxine are started of up to 10 to 15 μg/kg daily and normalization of thyroid hormone levels by 3 weeks is targeted. Any delay in treatment can cause irreversible mental retardation. The newborn's high TSH levels are further treated with thyroid hormone replacement therapy till they are 2 and may continue longer
Children with Hypothyroidism are generally treated with oral synthetic thyroid hormone therapy daily. This will help their brain develop properly. The child should also be checked by a doctor periodically to make sure the right dosage of synthetic thyroid hormone is being given to them.
Diet changes that help relieve Hypothyroidism symptoms
Before making any changes to your child’s routine, consult with a pediatrician. If the child is on medications, or not, some changes in diet can affect their symptoms. Children of different ages require different nutrition grids, and that should always be a priority with an added illness. Read on to learn about ways that can help high TSH levels in children.
- Processed or preserved foods should be removed from the diet and replaced with natural or organic foods. This could include vegetables, fruits that aid the immune system and whole grains
- Reduce the intake of sugars and starchy foods. Replace them with foods that are rich in fiber such as nuts.
- Increase a child's protein intake which in turn will help the levels of thyroid hormone be distributed to the parts of your body. Protein also helps improve the production of the hormone because it helps regulate the gland itself. Proteins such as nuts, eggs, meats and legumes can be introduced in the diet.
- Encourage children to involve in physical activity which helps in maintaining body weight and also helps with optimum blood supply to the gland
Balancing high TSH levels in children is important to reduce the chances of developmental issues. Should you notice any signs of Hypothyroidism in your child, consult with a pediatrician immediately. They will help you understand the cause of your child’s symptoms by making an accurate diagnosis, and also plan an effective treatment regimen.
You'd be surprised how lifestyle changes can positively affect hypothyroidism. MFine follows through with your care from consultations with top endocrinologists and weekly meal reviews to round-the-clock access to health coaches. The 3-Month Hypothyroidism Care Plan offers quality care at your fingertips.
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