On the health check list every child with Down Syndrome should have in their medical record is yearly screening for thyroid disease. People with Down Syndrome are at an increased risk of developing hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a common disorder that can affect all ages, and is found in 1 in 4000 people. The incidence is higher for people with Down Syndrome. Anywhere from 13 to 55 % of people with Down Syndrome will develop hypothyroidism over the course of their lifetime. The good news is that hypothyroidism can be easily treated with medication.
What is a thyroid?
The thyroid is a small gland located below the skin and muscles at the front of the neck, just at the spot where a bow tie would rest. It's brownish red, with left and right halves (called lobes) that look like a butterfly's wings. It's light like a butterfly, too, and usually weighs less than an ounce.