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Medical Diseases and Conditions
Pediatric Endocrinology
What is Pediatric Endocrinology?
Pediatric endocrinology is a medical sub-specialty dealing with a disorder of the endocrine system and its specific secretions called hormones, such as diabetes and other disorders of the endocrine glands, and variations of physical growth and sexual development in childhood.
What is the endocrine system?
The endocrine system is a complex group of glands. Glands are organs that make hormones. Hormones help to control activities in your child’s body. Different types of hormones control reproduction, metabolism (food burning and waste elimination) and growth and development. Hormones also control the way you respond to your surroundings, and they help to provide the proper amount of energy and nutrition your body needs to function. The glands that make up the endocrine system include the thyroid, parathyroid, pancreas, ovaries, testes, adrenal, pituitary and hypothalamus.
What is the metabolic system?
The metabolic system is a control system of the body that keeps the body's health in balance through the production of chemical substances.
Diseases and Disorders
Diabetes in children is mostly caused by insufficient secretion of insulin (Type 1 diabetes). Signs and symptoms include high blood sugar, increased thirst, frequent urination and weight loss. If left untreated, it is usually fatal. If poorly treated, it leads to severe long term complications such as eye and kidney disease. Treatment requires daily administration of insulin, appropriate diet and regular monitoring of blood sugar.

Growth and puberty
Hormones such as growth hormone, thyroid hormones and testosterone/estrogens are, together with optimal nutrition, necessary to achieve normal pubertal development and final height.

Disorders of sexual development
Disorders of sex development (DSD) are congenital conditions in which sex development is atypical or ambiguous. These abnormalities potentially lead to major consequences for the neonate: undervirilization in males and virilization in females, abnormal pubertal development, absent or decreased fertility, recurrent infections in the genital area, inability to have normal sexual intercourse and poor quality of life. In addition, in the case of ambiguity, the genitalia do not have the normal appearance that allows the parents or health professionals to readily assign a male or a female sex.

Thyroid diseases
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland located at the base of the neck. It makes hormones that are necessary for brain development and growth. Neonates born with abnormal or absent thyroid gland may present with mental retardation and short stature. If recognized early, treatment costs a few dollars per month and is very effective.

Childhood obesity, defined as an excess in body fat that can have negative effects on health, is rapidly increasing in developing countries. Complications that can be seen in pediatrics include Type 2 diabetes, excess hair and infertility in girls, liver dysfunction.

Adrenal glands
Adrenal glands are 2 small glands located on top of the kidneys. They make very important hormones such as cortisol (the “stress hormone”) and aldosterone (necessary to prevent salt loss by the kidney).

Calcium and bones
Calcium is necessary for bone health. Its absorption and excretion are tightly regulated by hormones such as parathormone and vitamin D.
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