Alopecia areata and Thyroid Disease
It's clear that the risk of thyroid disease is increased in individuals diagnosed with alopecia areata. It is generally recommended that children and adults with alopecia areata undergo blood tests to determined if thyroid function is normal.
Kurtev and colleagues performed a study in 46 children with a mean age of around 10 years. 63 % of children had enlarged thyroid glands (known as thyromegaly). Thyroid autoantibodies were present in about 1/3 of children. Ultrasound studies showed evidence of autoimmune thyroiditis in nearly one-half of the children.
A more recent study by Patel and colleagues examined 298 children with alopecia areata. Thyroid disease was most common in children with atopic dermatitis, children with Down syndrome and those with a family history of thyroid disease.
Thyroid disease is common in children with alopecia areata. While all children are typically screen for thyroid disease through measurement of serum TSH, this may be most important in children with atopic dermatitis, children with Down syndrome and those with a family history of thyroid disease.
Patel D et al. Screening Guidelines for Thyroid Function in Children With Alopecia Areata. JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(12):1307-1310.
Kurtev A et al. Thyroid autoimmunity in children and adolescents with alopecia areata.Int J Dermatol. 2005 Jun;44(6):457-61.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887