Important Alerts
Office and Urgent Care Closures

Cardiology-Jersey City is temporarily closed, while Cardiology-Newark is closed permanently.

The Croton-on-Hudson lab, the Mahopac lab, the Patterson lab and the Poughkeepsie Women’s Health Center Lab are temporarily closed until February 29, 2024.

Updates

 

Effective Tuesday, February, 20 2024 changes have been made to the New York flu clinic hours and locations. Please check the webpage for the most up-to-date information.  

Recording/Photography Not Permitted on Premises

COVID-19 Information and Updates

The new COVID-19 vaccine is available at our clinics.

Please note available supply below:

– Supply is limited as we receive weekly deliveries.
– Moderna is available for children and adults (ages 6 months and up)

View all
Health Conditions

How do I know if my teen has a thyroid problem?

16 June, 2023
Produced by:
How do I know if my teen has a thyroid problem?

Is your teen sleeping a lot? Isn’t that what all teens do? Maybe, but excessive fatigue and lack of energy can be caused by many conditions including a thyroid disorder.

For many, the thyroid is a somewhat mysterious gland. Shaped like a butterfly, it sits at the base of the neck, bobbing up and down when we swallow. But the thyroid is incredibly important to health, since all the body’s cells require thyroid hormone to work correctly.

But why would someone as young as an adolescent develop thyroid disease? It’s not always clear, although thyroid problems can’t be “caught” from someone else. Most commonly, a teen with a thyroid disorder may have or developed an autoimmune disorder such as Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.1,2 Other causes can include:

  • Thyroiditis (when the thyroid gland becomes inflamed)1
  • Removal of the thyroid gland through surgery1
  • Radiation treatment1
  • Certain medicines1,2
  • Damage to pituitary gland1
  • Neonatal Graves’ disease (developed from a mother with Grave’s disease)2
  • The TSH receptor gene malfunctions, causing an overproduction of horomones2

Types of Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid disease is broken down into two main types: hyperthyroidism, when the gland makes too much thyroid hormone; and hypothyroidism, when it makes too little. Each person’s symptoms are based on which type of thyroid disorder they have. For Americans over 12 years old, about 1 in 100 have hyperthyroidism and 5 in 100 have hypothyroidism.3,4 Symptoms can include:

  • Hyperthyroidism: anxiousness/nervousness, lack of concentration, irritability, sensitivity to heat, shakiness, heart-racing, frequent bowel movements, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, and weight loss.2
  • Hypothyroidism: fatigue, constipation, sensitivity to cold, an enlarged thyroid (goiter), dry skin or hair, depression, irregular or heavy menstrual cycle, weight gain.3

Additionally, hypothyroidism may cause slower growth and the changes of puberty may be delayed if a young teen suffers from this disorder. It’s important to note weight gain may not be a sign of a thyroid problem, if it presents as the only symptom.3,5

Diagnosis and Treatment Process

Patients should undergo a physical exam looking for the presence of a goiter — a swollen or enlarged thyroid gland—or a lump called a nodule in the gland. Blood tests to check your TSH (hormone made in pituitary gland), T3 and T4. Your child’s doctor may order additional testing and imaging to determine the underlying cause and check if the thyroid is underactive or overreactive.2

The good news is that treating thyroid disease is usually quite straightforward. Depending on test results — whether thyroid hormone is too high or too low — medication is typically prescribed to regulate or supplement those levels. In some cases, radiation or surgery may be considered.2

But don’t worry: Teens who have been growing slowly because of thyroid disease before diagnosis will likely improve once they’ve been treated. The normal body changes associated with puberty will follow as well. Follow-up care is simple, with regular blood tests to keep track of thyroid levels and medication “tweaks” based on these results.

Symptoms of thyroid disease can be right in front of you, resembling “normal” teenage habits and conditions. But spotting signs of thyroid problems in your teen requires keeping your eyes open. If you notice any signs of thyroid disorders in your teen, consult your primary care doctor for confirmation.

Also: Hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease (for Parents) – Nemours KidsHealth

Disclaimer:

The information featured in this site is general in nature. The site provides health information designed to complement your personal health management. It does not provide medical advice or health services and is not meant to replace professional advice or imply coverage of specific clinical services or products. The inclusion of links to other web sites does not imply any endorsement of the material on such websites.

  1. Hypothyroidism in Children and Adolescents. https://www.thyroid.org/hypothyroidism-children-adolescents/. Accessed May 12, 2023.
  2. Hyperthyroidism in Children and Adolescents. https://www.thyroid.org/hyperthyroidism-children-adolescents/. Accessed May 12, 2023.
  3. Hypothyroidism. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hypothyroidism. Last reviewed March 2021. Accessed April 12, 2023.
  4. Hyperthyroidism. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hyperthyroidism. Last reviewed August 2021. Accessed April 12, 2023.
  5. Thyroid and Weight. https://www.thyroid.org/thyroid-and-weight/. Accessed April 12, 2023.
Related articles
It’s time to talk about the importance of cervical health

Cervical cancer is the fourth leading cause of death in women around the world, and in the United States, it was once the most common cause of death.

Read article
Not just your regular holiday blues – diabetes and depression often seen together

As the holidays approach, and the season’s expectations and demands draw near, it is not uncommon for some, especially older adults, to catch a case of the “holiday blues.” But it’s important to know when it’s more than just the “blues” and how other conditions, like diabetes, can be linked with depression.1

Read article
What you should know about GERD

If you’re someone who experiences heartburn, you know the signs: a harsh, burning feeling in your chest usually after eating a large meal, spicy food or when you’re lying down. Frequent, persistent heartburn is the most common symptom of GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and an estimated 20% of the population is living with it.

Read article
What you should know about AFib

In medicine, AFib is not an exaggeration of the truth. Rather, it is an abbreviation for atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia — or abnormal heart rhythm. AFib results from disorganization of the heart’s electricity that can cause an irregular heartbeat. Many people are not aware the condition has serious consequences such as an estimated four- to five-fold increased risk of ischemic stroke.

Read article