It is a growing problem in more ways than one. Childhood obesity is on the rise, so is thyroid disease. And experts say hypothyroidism is causing a big problem for many youngsters.
“I can tell you for sure there has been a significant increase of thyroid disease among children who have weight problems,” says Lee Memorial Health System pediatric endocrinologist, Dr. Cayce Jehaimi.
Dr. Jehaimi is a pediatric endocrinologist with Golisano Children’s Hospital.
“A lot of children who come in for a thyroid problem have an elevation of a hormone called TSH, thyroid stimulating hormone. The thyroid stimulating hormone, when it exceeds certain thresholds it can affect negatively metabolic weight,” says Dr. Jehaimi.
When metabolism is reduced, kids can’t burn calories the way they should. The TSH is a thyroid stimulating hormone and high levels indicate the body is releasing more to try to make up for a deficiency. Long-term it can cause heftier problems that just weight gain.
“There have been a lot of studies that looked into bone density being compromised, the cardiac contractility gets compromised. A lot of kids have mental problems; cognitive and specific short term memory loss,” says Dr. Jehaimi.
An endocrinologist will evaluate hormone levels and recommend treatment.
“Many of those kids do end up needing supplementation or assistance with thyroid hormonal replacement in order to revive the metabolism,” says Dr. Jehaimi.
A weighty issue to be sure, but one that can be addressed. And with the right care, children can grow up.
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Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.
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