Thank you for visiting the Children & Thyroid, which will help all children understand the importance of the thyroid gland.
The ATF believe all Australians should be aware of the benefits of Good Thyroid Health and how to achieve it. The ATF encourage all Australian children to know why the Thyroid Gland is so important to your health and how the hormones produced by the thyroid gland help you grow and learn. Learning how to choose healthy food options which include iodine, will ensure your development and body function reaches its full potential.
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The Thyroid Gland
Everyone needs energy to help us walk, talk, eat, play and concentrate in the class room. The Thyroid Gland gives our body energy through producing thyroid hormones. These hormones feed every cell in the body. Without enough thyroid hormones our body will slow down and become sluggish.
Thyroid hormones are very special. Before you were born, your mother needed thyroid hormones for your development, particularly your brain development. When you were born you made your own thyroid hormones which you now rely on.
Iodine is an element which is usually found in our soil and water, which our body uses to make thyroid hormones. Unfortunately Australia no longer has enough iodine in our soil or water and therefore our thyroid gland needs help from diet choices. Children between the ages of 0 -7 years need 90 ug (micrograms of millionths of a gram) and children between 7 -12 years need 120 ug.
Bread makers have replaced normal salt with iodised salt in their recipes which include iodine. We can also get some iodine from seafood, dairy milk or dairy products, eggs and foods containing iodised salt. It is very important we eat foods every day which include iodine.
The main hormone your thyroid gland makes is called Thyroxine. This hormone is responsible for our body’s energy level and helps our body digest the food we eat.
If you were born without a thyroid gland, this is called Congenital Hypothyroidism and you would have been diagnosed within a few days of being born. This test to diagnose this condition is called a "Heal Prick Test." Because you do not have a thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormone, your doctor would have prescribed replacement thyroid hormone, Levothyroxine, which you will have to take, every day, for the rest of your life. Replacement thyroid hormone, Levothyroxine is essential for your development and feeds every cell in your body with energy.
The specialist doctor who treats you is called a Paediatric Endocrinologist. Your Paediatric Endocrinologist will see you regularly and will order blood tests to make sure your dose of Replacement Thyroid Hormone, Levothyroxine is correct for you. Your dose of Levothyroxine will probably increase as you get older, until you have finished growing and developing. Once you have received a ‘stable dose’, your levels will be easier to maintain and there will not be the need to increase and change your dose of Levothyroxine as often as it was when you were growing and developing.
Hypothyroidism/Underactive Thyroid Gland
Sometimes, children are diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, also known as an Underactive Thyroid. This means that their thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormone. Thyroid Replacement Hormone Levothyroxine is prescribed for these children as well and they are also treated by a Paediatric Endocrinologist.
It is essential you take your Replacement Thyroid Hormone Levothyroxine, (brands are Oroxine, Eutroxsig and Eltroxin) every day and don't forget it, because without it your body will not be able to work as well as it should. Sometimes if you are not taking enough replacement thyroid hormone Levothyroxine, or you forget to take it, you might have a problem concentrating at school, or you might get tired easily, so it is very important you remember.
As you get older, you will learn how the body works and why thyroid hormones, particularly thyroxine is so important. We have a story on this page which is about a Tadpole named Roxy who turns into a Frog. Tadpoles cannot change into a Frog without enough iodine in their diet to make thyroid hormones.
You need to take Levothyroxine as soon as you wake up in the morning with a glass of water. Wait 30 minutes to 1 hour before you eat breakfast.
Thyroid Federation International
The ATF is a member of Thyroid Federation International (TFI), the worldwide thyroid patient support and educational organisation. TFI Messaging for International Thyroid Awareness Week 2016 related to Children and Thyroid Disease.