Trusted Resources: Evidence & Education
Scientific literature and patient education texts
Graves’ Disease (Hyperthyroidism) in Children
source: Stanford Children's Health
Hyperthyroidism is a disease in which the thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormone than the body needs.
This hormone helps control metabolism, the speed at which the body carries out processes like heartbeats. When the body has too much thyroid hormone, the excess can cause these processes to speed up, leading to symptoms like nervousness and weight loss. The most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the U.S. is an autoimmune disorder called Graves’ disease. Children can develop Graves’ disease, although it’s less common in kids than adults.
Symptoms of Graves’ Disease in Children
The warning signs of Graves’ disease may be different in children than in adults. Graves’ disease can be harder to spot in kids who are normally active anyway. Parents may mistake their children’s behavior for hyperactivity or even a psychiatric condition.
You may see these symptoms of Graves’ disease in children:
• An enlarged thyroid gland (this is located in the neck, just above the collarbone)
• Difficulty swallowing
• Prominent or bulging eyes
• Weight loss or poor weight gain
• Rapid pulse
• Hair loss
• Weakness or fatigue
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