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arrested physical and mental development with dystrophy of bones and soft tissues, due to congenital lack of thyroid gland secretion from hypofunction or absence of the gland. Affected children have a large head, short limbs, puffy eyes, coarse hair, a round abdomen, a thick and protruding tongue with drooling, excessively dry skin, lack of coordination, and mental retardation. Thyroid deficiency that is acquired or seen in adults is called myxedema. Administration of thyroid hormone medication, which must be continued for life, can result in normal growth and mental development of these children. If untreated, however, they will become permanently dwarfed, probably mentally retarded, and sterile.
cretinism/cre·tin·ism/ (kre´tin-izm) arrested physical and mental development with dystrophy of bones and soft tissues, due to congenital lack of thyroid secretion.
athyrotic cretinism cretinism due to thyroid aplasia or destruction of the thyroid of the fetus in utero.
endemic cretinism a form occurring in regions of severe endemic goiter, marked by deaf-mutism, spasticity, and motor dysfunction in addition to, or instead of, the usual manifestations of cretinism.
sporadic goitrous cretinism a genetic disorder in which enlargement of the thyroid gland is associated with deficient circulating thyroid hormone.
A congenital condition caused by a deficiency of thyroid hormone during prenatal development and characterized by small stature, intellectual disability, dystrophy of the bones, and a low basal metabolism.
Etymology: Fr, cretin, idiot
a congenital condition characterized by severe hypothyroidism and often associated with other endocrine abnormalities. Myxedema is the acquired form of hypothyroidism. Typical signs of cretinism include dwarfism, mental deficiency, puffy facial features, dry skin, large tongue, umbilical hernia, and muscular incoordination. The disorder occurs usually in areas where the diet is deficient in iodine and where goiter is common. Early treatment with thyroid hormone generally promotes normal physical growth but may not prevent mental retardation. The use of iodized salt dramatically reduces the incidence of cretinism in a population. The condition is rare in the United States, but in some areas, including parts of Ecuador, the Himalayas, and Zaire, more than 5% of the people are affected. See also familial cretinism. cretin, n., cretinous, adj.
Obsolete term for congenital hypothyroidism.
See also: infantile hypothyroidism
See also: infantile hypothyroidism
cretinismA condition caused by thyroid underaction from severe iodine deficiency early in life. It features dwarfism, mental retardation, dry skin, a large tongue and a puffy face. Cretinism occurs mainly in regions remote from the sea. Iodization of table salt and early screening of babies has largely eliminated the condition from such regions.
Severe hypothyroidism that is present at birth and characterized by severe mental retardation.
Obsolete term for congenital hypothyroidism. This offensive term should be avoided.
cretinism (krē´tənizəm) (congenital hypothyroidism),
n See hypothyroidism.
arrested physical and mental development with dystrophy of bones and soft tissues, resulting in disproportionate dwarfism. Due to congenital or early-onset hypothyroidism. Seen in foals and possibly is an unrecognized cause of neonatal deaths in other species.