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Thyroid Diseases

Thyroid and Weight Gain in Child

02/05/2007

Question:

In April 2006 his T3 was 281 and had some abnormal TSH. Now his T3 is 215 with normal TSH. He is overweight, always has been 39 in 58 lb. range. Do you think he has a thyroid condition? His pediatrician says something is wrong and sent him to thyroid doctor. The thyroid doctor said nothing`s wrong. That he's just too fat. My child does not hardly eat anything has very dry skin. I`m thinking this was wrong at birth and slipped by. What do you think? he`s never been treated.

Answer:

I don't think I received the entire message, so I don't know how old the patient is. Also, the normal limits for T3 levels can vary, and it would be helpful to know the normal limits for the test you are quoting. However, I would rely more on the free T4 and the TSH than the T3 anyway. If the free T4 and TSH are normal, then I don't think his thyroid is responsible for his weight. Abnormal weight gain would be caused by low levels of thyroid hormone, and there is nothing in your question to suggest that this has ever been the case. Also, low thyroid levels would be expected to interfere with growth, so if his growth rate has been normal then that would make it even less likely that his weight has anything to do with his thyroid.

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Response by:

Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University