The thyroid gland is situated in the neck in front of the windpipe (trachea) and just below the larynx (voice box). It resembles the shape of a butterfly. The function of the thyroid gland is produce hormones that are necessary for the following
- Normal growth
- Brain development
- Mental and physical wellbeing
- Controls how quickly the body uses energy
Individuals with Down syndrome are more likely to experience problems with the functioning of the thyroid gland. It is recommended that thyroid levels are monitored throughout life. A newborn will be tested as part of the routine heel prick test that is carried out. Further screening should be done yearly until the age of 5 years and two yearly thereafter. This can be done by carrying out a blood test which measures how well the gland is functioning. If there are concerns between the recommended screening schedule it is recommended that repeat testing is carried out. If there appears to be a problem your doctor may decide to monitor you more closely or may start treatment to resolve the problem. All disorders associated with the thyroid are treatable.