Thyroid Disease

Ten to 40% of persons with Down syndrome have hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism is slightly more common than it is in the general population.

Symptoms may be subtle, and may be confused with features associated with Down syndrome (e.g. lethargy, cognitive impairments, and skin dryness) or diagnosed as dementia. Nurses working with individuals who have hypothyroidism can help set up a reminder system to ensure that thyroid supplements are taken as directed.

When working with a client who has Down syndrome, nurses should assume that cognitive impairments and a sedentary lifestyle are a normal part of the syndrome.