The Thyroid gland is a very important Endocrine gland (a gland that produces hormones) situated in the front of the neck. The hormones it produces plays a very important role in many aspects of life. In fact, is essential for pretty much all functions of our body from growth to puberty to development of the brain, bone strength and metabolism. An abnormal production of the hormones from the thyroid gland can present with skin and hair issues, early puberty, gaining or losing weight, effect on the gut, effect on the brain and eyes, effect on the immune system to mention a few.
The thyroid gland produces two hormones: T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine)which is controlled by the pituitary gland in the brain which produces the Thyroid stimulating hormone. They work in tandem together to maintain the delicate balance providing the body with just the right amount of the hormones: not too much or too little. Sometimes however there may be a problem in this delicate balance which may lead to overproduction of the thyroid hormones (HYPER-thyroidism) or under production of the thyroid hormone (HYPO-thyroidism).
Congenital Hypothyroidism: Babies, in the first few days after birth are checked for a specific type of thyroid disorder: congenital hypothyroidism. This test is done through a small prick on the heel of the child just before they are discharged from the hospital. The thyroid hormone plays a very important role in the early growth and brain development of babies. The detection of the underproduction of thyroid hormones early leads to early intervention and institution of treatment preventing poor neurodevelopment of the baby. Although this screening test fortunately with more and more babies having the screening test at birth the detection of congenital hypothyroidism is early leading to excellent outcomes in the affected babies.