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From: Rochester, NH, USA

My daughter, age 9, was diagnosed with IDDM in April 96. A recent trip to the doctor's in Jan. 1997 diagnosed a slightly enlarged thyroid. Blood tests were done and the results were negative. A few days ago, we noticed that her thyroid area was VERY swollen, so she returned to the doctor's. She was sent for blood tests again. These were also negative.

I was wondering if you could give me information on why her thyroid might swell like this, if the blood tests are all negative?

Also, can a thyroid swell and shrink periodically and if it does, would this cause problems with her breathing? She has had 4-5 episodes since Dec where she had "a hard time catching her breath". These episodes lasted anywhere from 1-3 days. She could breath, but seemed to have difficulty getting enough air. Then it disappeared. The doctor couldn't find any reason why it happened.

Lastly, might her thyroid swelling cause her sugars to rise?


Children with diabetes often develop problems with their thyroid. The thyroid can enlarge because of an ongoing inflammation (similar to the inflammation which occurs in the pancreas at the onset of diabetes.) An enlarged thyroid can be functioning in the normal range (all tests would be normal), in the under active range, or in the overactive range.

A viral infection can also cause a transient enlargement of the thyroid unrelated to diabetes. Blood tests may be transiently abnormal, then usually become normal when the virus subsides. The thyroid is usually enlarged during the viral infection, then becomes normal size with time.

It is rare for the thyroid to be so enlarged as to interfere with breathing. It is not uncommon however, to develop a viral infection of the thyroid at the same time as a respiratory virus.

It sounds like only with continued observation and evaluation will you be able to sort out what is happening with your child.


Original posting 15 Mar 97


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:54
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