Congenital Hypothyroidism Leads to Impaired Health-related Quality of Life

Sad looking child holding her motherThough the motor and cognitive development of patients with congenital hypothyroidism (CH) has been well studied, the emotional and social aspects of growing up with CH are deserving of further exploration, according to a study.

In the study, “Health-related quality of life and self-worth in 10-year old children with congenital hypothyroidism diagnosed by neonatal screening,” researchers set out to explore the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and feelings of self-worth among children with CH. They were also interested in the associations between these emotional outcomes and children’s IQ, motor skills, and disease factors.

The study was published online ahead of print in October 2012 in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health.

The researchers relied on data gathered through questionnaires filled out by children with CH and their parents. The children were separated into groups based on the severity of their condition (severe CH, n = 41; moderate/mild CH, n = 41). The researchers then used a number of statistical models to compare the differences between the HRQoL scores of the children with CH and the general population.

The results of the study showed that the children with CH had lower average HRQoL with regards to their motor skills, cognitive and social functioning, autonomy, and positive emotions. Additionally, parents of children with CH also had a heightened risk for impaired HRQoL and feelings of self-worth. The study authors did not find any differences based on the severity of a child’s condition.

Having a lower IQ was associated with impaired cognitive HRQoL. The researchers did not find an association between HRQoL/self-worth and the following factors: initial T4 dose, motor skills, initial FT4 plasma level, and age at the onset of therapy.

The researchers conclude that their findings demonstrate the prevalence of impaired HRQoL and self-worth among children with CH. This association existed independent of motor skills, children’s IQ scores, and their disease factors. The researchers say that this highlights the need for doctors to pay close attention to the emotional aspects of CH and provide patients with appropriate care.

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