What causes Cretinism?


Cretinism is a disease caused by hypothyroidism. Iodine deficiency in diet during pregnancy is the major cause of cretinism. Hypothyroidism leads to impaired development of the growing fetus and leads to mental retardation and stunted growth.

Symptoms of cretinism

The main symptoms of cretinism are the following:

  • Stunted growth and mental retardation.
  • Short stature.
  • Mild neurological impairment with reduced muscle tone and coordination.
  • Hearing and speech defects.
  • Unable to maintain posture and balance with characteristic walking style.
  • Myxoedema.
  • Enlargement of the thyroid gland.

What are the main reasons for cretinism?

The main causes of cretinism are the following:

  • Dietary iodine deficiency.
  • Failure of responding to the iodine of thyroid hormone supplement.
  • Maternal hypothyroidism.
  • Exposure to radioactive iodine during pregnancy.
  • Use of antithyroid drugs or sulfonamides during pregnancy.

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