Cretinism is an endocrine disease with a disruption of the thyroid function, delay in physical and mental development. Insufficiency of function or absence of a thyroid gland can be congenital. Cretinism can also develop during the growth of a child due to a lack of iodine or thyroid hormone.
Symptoms of cretinism
- Low growth.
- Thick, big tongue.
- A flat nose.
- Mental retardation, idiocy.
Causes of cretinism
The reasons for the appearance of cretinism are not yet sufficiently investigated. However, it is known that childhood cretinism is manifested due to a lack of iodine in the mother's body. Women with endemic goiter most often give birth to children with disrupted thyroid function. There are other harmful factors that predetermine the development of the fetus. The number of cases of cretinism in those regions where there is a shortage of iodine in nature has begun to decline due to iodization of drinking water and table salt for preventive purposes. Another cause of cretinism is marriages between close relatives.
Treatment of cretinism
Patients all their lives should take thyroid hormones, the use of which is strictly dosed. The fact is that they adopt the impaired or absent function of the thyroid gland. However, even the slightest negligence in the use of drugs can manifest itself as a serious violation of the child's mental and physical development. In addition, with an overdose of hormones, there are symptoms of thyrotoxicosis: anxiety, palpitations, insomnia, uncontrolled growth. The earlier the treatment is started, the more normal the child will develop. With the regular use of hormones, the child's physical development can be normal, and the mental development of the child can be retarded: the fetal nervous system is fully formed in the last months of pregnancy, so the lack of hormones of this period predetermines the appearance of the disease.
Regular use of hormones and compliance with all medical prescriptions is the only way to ensure a full life.
Thyroid hormones most often begin to treat the newly born baby.
Usually all children on the third-tenth day of life are tested, the purpose of which is the determination of congenital metabolic diseases in newborns. When giving birth at home, studies are conducted in the clinic. Elevated levels of thyrotropins (TTG-pituitary hormones stimulating the thyroid gland) in the blood of the newborn are a reliable indicator of the weakened function of the thyroid gland.
Course of the disease
Without a special TTG-study, it is impossible to establish accurately the failure of thyroid function in a newborn. The first symptoms of cretinism are drowsiness and a lack of a great desire to suck mother's milk. Transient jaundice of newborns does not take longer than usual. The baby has frequent constipation. After a while his face acquires a blunt expression, the tongue grows and thickens, which begins to fall out of the mouth, the cut of the eyes narrows, the nose becomes broad, flat. Characterized by very wide parietal bones, the seams of the bones of the skull are prominent. The abdomen of the baby is large, atonic, almost always umbilical hernia. Skin is dry, cold, hair growth is slowed. The child almost does not grow, the proportions of his body remain as in a small child. All reactions are delayed. The child begins to speak hard and late. Some children have a disorder or a complete hearing loss. Much slows down and mental development. The lack of hormones of the thyroid gland affects the function of the heart muscle, so the child may have heart rhythm disturbances.
Women suffering from thyroid gland diseases should talk with a doctor before deciding on the possibility of having a baby. Diseases of the thyroid gland do not mean that a woman can not have children. However, the pregnant woman should be under the supervision of a doctor and take medicine.
How to avoid cretinism?
From the twelfth week of pregnancy, thyroid hormones begin to be produced in the body of the fetus. However, a sufficient amount of iodine is needed for this fetus. Therefore, the future mother should eat foods that contain iodine.