Cretinism is a condition of stunned physical and mental growth in patients occurring due to thyroid deficiency. Some other deficiencies include congenital hypothyroidism and sometimes due to maternal hypothyroidism.
This disease can either be sporadic, mild or severe if left untreated. Also this disease particularly leaves the patient weak for the early years of their life. The patient might be as tall as 1 to 1.6 mts which can also vary depending on sex, age, and other genetic reasons. Sometimes bone maturation and puberty too gets delayed. Ovulation takes long or sometimes is impossible and fertility problems crop inside the patient. The neurological impairment also is weak and due to reduction in muscle tone the patient finds it stressing to stand or walk for longer durations.
However the cognitive impairment does range from mild to severe in case of most patients. Their thinking ability and reflex power is certainly lesser and on a slower pace. The most important signs of this disease are enlarged tongue, protruding abdomen, and thickened skin. There are other sporadic and genetic factors which include abnormal development of thyroid gland.
Sometimes newborn infants are sent for a diagnosis and treatment purpose for treating them with thyroxine. This hormone is formed as a tablet and offered to newborn. The liquid in it will provide necessary T4 dosage to the newborn infant. Sometimes the tablets are crushed in milk and water can give periodically to infants in the early weeks.
The other common symptoms of this disease include flattened nose, lethargy, poor metabolism, mental retardation, dry skin, enlarged tongue, hypothyroidism, growth failure, bone dystrophy, waxy skin, thick skin etc. Most of these patients suffer from hypothyroidism and due to reduction of hormone secretion and iodine these cases do get etched in their medical history. This is the reason the thyroid gets enlarged and makes the neck look swollen or stiff.