Ask Dr. Marla: Thyroid Concerns

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I have an overactive thyroid and my mother has an underactive thyroid.  We have other family members with thyroid issues as well.  What is the likelihood of my three-year-old daughter developing a thyroid problem?  What should I watch for?

A. It is important to understand a little about the thyroid before I can answer your question. Our thyroid gland sits just inside our neck and produces different kinds of thyroid hormones. These hormones are very important. They affect many of our bodily functions. They regulate our metabolism. The pituitary gland in our brain regulates the thyroid in a complex feedback mechanism.

While family history is important to know, there is no way of knowing how that will, or even if it will, translate into an individual risk for your child. I would simply advise you to report your family history to your doctor. Family history is not only important for thyroid disease but all family history is, be it heart disease, stroke, cancer and so on.

Each year your doctor will monitor your child’s growth and development, including milestone

development. Remember that you work as a collaborative team – patient, family and doctor – to provide the best health care to your family.

Published in Spring 2009

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