One of the thyroid gland disorders is the congenital hypothyroidism. This type of thyroid gland disorder must not be left untreated for this may result into mental retardation or deafness. Statistics show that in 4, 000 children, one may suffer from congenital hypothyroidism. This is caused by non-production of thyroid hormones in the body. Thyroid hormones are necessary for normal brain development. Infants that suffer from this disease may not show any signs or symptoms at first not until the third month. It may appear to be clinically normal during the first three months however, an infant’s brain development will be then at risk from being impaired after 3 months. Congenital hypothyroidism may be prevented through newborn screening.
Congenital Hypothyroidism Screening
If and when a baby is born with thyroid glands that are not able to produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormones, a baby then suffers from congenital hypothyroidism screening. It is very important to treat this condition as this can cause mental retardation. An infant must go through a thyroid testing with the use of a blood sample to measure the thyroid hormone level. However, there are times that the mother’s thyroid hormones may still be present in the infant’s blood circulation which causes inaccurate results of an infant’s exact thyroid hormone level. In this case, the following should be done:
- Prior to a baby is discharged to a maximum of 7 days, a baby should undergo thyroid testing.
- If a blood sample was collected before a baby reached 24 hours of age, a second specimen must be tested before a baby turns two weeks of age.
- The baby’s blood sample should be collected 2 to 6 days of age.
Congenital Hypothyroidism in Newborns
Nowadays, congenital hypothyroidism in newborns is already considered rare, thanks to newborn screening, parents of today are now able to check their baby’s health and prevent any illnesses and diseases even before it can worsen. Congenital hypothyroidism is one of the most common causes of mental retardation. There are two types of this disease:
Permanent Congenital Hypothyroidism
- is caused by a defect or abnormal development of the thyroid glands
- requires a lifelong treatment
- may be caused by iron deficiency or exposure to high doses of iodine
This can all be prevented with the help of newborn screening. Newborn screening helps identify all possible ailments or diseases a newborn may have and avoid future complications.