HYPERTHYROIDISM is rare in childhood but occurs occasionally in children from 10 to 15 yr.1 Girls are affected about seven times oftener than boys.2 The course of childhood hyperthyroidism may be benign or severe. The disease develops more rapidly in children than in adults, but it is usually milder in form.
The earliest signs of thyrotoxicosis in children are usually emotional disturbances accompanied with motor hyperactivity. The child becomes irritable, excitable, cries easily, and loses or fails to gain weight. The thyroid gland is often visibly as well as palpably enlarged, and bruits may be heard over it. Exophthalmos is noticeable in the majority of these children; the skin is smooth and flushed, and sweating is excessive. Progressive muscular weakness develops as the disease continues. Tachycardia, palpitation, and dyspnea cause discomfort, and cardiac enlargement and insufficiency may actually endanger the child's life. These children are usually tall, and