About Pediatric Endocrinology
Having a child with a chronic medical problem is one of the more difficult and trying circumstances in anyone’s life. It is hard on the child and even harder on the family. Endocrine disorders in children are usually chronic issues that need continuous care and evaluation by trained pediatric endocrinologists. Children with endocrine disorders include those with diabetes, disorders of growth, disorders of puberty, adrenal diseases including ambiguous genitalia, thyroid excess or deficiency, obesity, and polycystic ovary syndrome among others.
Pediatric diabetes is especially challenging for patients and their families as well as medical professionals caring for them. The management of diabetes in children varies tremendously from that in adults. Childhood diabetes can be due to type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
Growth in children is always a concern for families. Growth failure can result from many different causes including growth hormone deficiency, hypothyroidism, chronic illnesses, poor nutrition, etc. A child that is short or not growing appropriately needs a complete endocrine evaluation to determine if any therapy is available to improve their growth and help them attain the height that is normal based on their genetic (family) potential.
Obesity is considered by most medical experts to be a problem of epidemic proportions in the US and the world. The problems that arise in children who are above the 95th percentile for their weight not only affect them in childhood (psychologically), but have long lasting medical implications as well. The problems that arise in these children include, but are not limited to, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Treating these children is especially challenging and requires a multi-faceted approach including nutrition counseling, increased physical activity and a complete medical/hormonal evaluation to rule out pathological causes of obesity. These children require frequent monitoring and encouragement.