Thyroid problems are common amongst different age groups. There are two major thyroid problems, namely hyperthyroidism caused by excessive secretion of thyroid hormones and hypothyroidism when secretion of hormones is extremely low.
The symptoms of thyroid problems in infants are often subtle and may go undiagnosed without testing. In cases of hypothyroidism, infants may exhibit pale or blotchy skin, show little interest in eating hence having poor weight gain and slow growth, become frequently constipated, and have low blood pressure, a slow heart rate or cold hands and feet. Over time, signs of intellectual disability, an enlarged tongue and coarse facial features may appear. Whereas, signs of hyperthyroidism in infants can be seen as rapid heart rate, fast breathing, metabolic rate becomes high, excessive hunger, irritation and poor weight gain.
In children, after the age of three, symptoms of hyperthyroidism become deceptive and may be difficult to monitor, including lethargy, heart rate become slow, inability to tolerate the cold temperature, skin and hair dries out, constipation and impaired memory and difficulty in thinking and goitre. Hyperthyroidism is less common in children.
There are specific kinds of thyroid disorders in adults that include hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiter, thyroid nodules and thyroid cancer. Thyroid disorders can also occur in old age. Hypothyroidism is more common in older people than in younger adults. Special attention and careful treatment is required for older patients with thyroid disorders which then must be followed up lifelong. The revelation of the disease is often less typical making it more difficult to diagnose thyroid disease in an older patient. However, thyroid diseases can be prevented by having adequate exercise and by taking proper amount of iodine in diet.